first_imgNews October 23, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Newspaper editor’s murder: fact-finding visit raises doubts about official version Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says Reporters Without Borders went to Togliatti (Volga) on 16-17 October to lookinto the 9 October killing of Alexei Sidorov, the editor of the regionalnewspaper Toliattinskoye Obosrenie. The organisation is worried by the waythe authorities have conducted the investigation, making contradictorystatements and prematurely ruling out any possibility that the murder waslinked to Sidorov’s work. News June 2, 2021 Find out more News News RSF_en BelarusEurope – Central Asia Organisation to go further Reporters Without Borders today raised doubts about official accounts of the 9 October murder of newspaper editor Alexei Sidorov in Togliatti (Volga) after it carried out a fact-finding visit to Togliatti and Samara on 16-17 October with the Glasnost Defence Foundation, a Russian press freedom group.The organisation is concerned at the course which the official investigations have taken. The authorities have already dismissed the possibility of a work-related killing and other important leads on grounds that appear inadequate to Reporters Without Borders. Contradictory statements by officials also indicate that the enquiries are being conducted with a lack of professionalism. The organisation believes that no hypothesis should be ruled out at this early stage and it fears international attention may have encouraged investigators to be rash.The senior staff of the regional newspaper that Sidorov edited, Toliattinskoye Obosrenie, believe that the murder was linked to his work as a journalist and they dismiss the official version that his death was a case of unpremeditated, everyday violence. A suspect accused of killing Sidorov in a street brawl has been held by the authorities since 12 October. Reporters Without Borders notes that those responsible for killing the newspaper’s previous editor, Valery Ivanov, in April 2002 have still not been identified and brought to justice. The organisation calls on the Russian Federation’s public prosecutor, Vladimir Ustinov, to ensure that all leads are considered with great care and that investigators resist the temptation to declare the case closed in an attempt to satisfy international opinion, without exploring all its ins and outs.Sidorov, 31, was stabbed by two men in his apartment building’s parking lot at around 10:00 pm on 9 October. He died a few minutes later in his wife’s arms. The murder weapon was a “zatochka,” a home-made knife of the kind used in prisons, made from a piece metal. Sidorov’s predecessor as editor, Ivanov, died in similar circumstances on 29 April 2002. Sidorov had established favourable relations with the car-maker, AvtoVaz, which is the engine of the region’s economy and which supported the newspaper financially. Before becoming editor, he had been an investigative journalist with the newspaper. He had resumed his investigations into the crime world a few weeks before his death, but neither his colleagues nor his wife know what exactly he was working on.Contradictory official statementsSerious doubt has been cast on the professionalism of the investigation by the contradictory official statements made between 15 and 17 October about the arrests of one or several suspects.Announcing the arrests of a mechanic and an unemployed person on 15 October, the head of the interior ministry in the Volga region, Vladimir Shcherbakov, said that the case was solved and that it was unrelated to Sidorov’s work. The deputy prosecutor of Samara and prosecutor of the city of Togliatti, Evgeni Novozhilov, denied this the next day, saying that two other hypotheses were being considered in addition to unpremeditated violence, namely, that the murder was linked to Sidorov’s work and the possibility that it connected with the newspaper’s proposed sale. The federal inspector for the Samara region, Andrey Kogtev, reiterated on 17 October that two suspects had been arrested. On the afternoon of the same day, Samara prosecutor Alexandre Efremov said the case was solved. This was repeated by interior minister Boris Gryzlov. The official versionThe name of the principal detained suspect was revealed on 18 October. Evgeny Mayninger, a Togliatti welder held since 12 October was accused of killing Sidorov in a brawl. He allegedly encountered Sidorov by chance and asked for a loan of money to buy vodka. Sidorov supposedly refused, a fight broke out, Mayninger stabbed him several times and fled, throwing the knife away in the forest. He allegedly confessed. The identity of the two other suspects who had reportedly been arrested was not revealed.The view of the newspaper’s staffThe Toliattinskoye Obosrenie staff have said several times that they are convinced that the murder was linked to Sidorov’s work. The day after the murder, the newspaper published a report spelling out four possible hypotheses.The first two hypotheses were that the murder could have been linked with either of two articles published in June and July 2003. One was about a conflict between a criminal, Igor Fillipov, and a Samara businessman, Vladimir Zaharchenko. The other was about a gang led by local crime boss Igor Sirotenko. Fillipov might have been taking revenge on the newspaper for reporting that he had tried to attack his adversary and had lost some of his possessions after being interrogated by police. Sirotenko had threatened to sue the newspaper over the other article and he demanded a retraction. The two criminals may also have got together to eliminate Sidorov.The third hypothesis was that Sidorov may had have had dangerous information such as, for example, the location of the hideout of wanted criminal Alexandre Belyakin. Finally, the newspaper thought the murder may also have been linked to the control of Toliattinskoye Obosrenie, as the management had just turned down an offer to buy the newspaper.The staff said they were “hard put to believe the official version” for several reasons. When a reconstruction of the killing was held on the evening of 17 October, the newspaper’s journalists noted that the suspect made a mistake as regards the spot where it took place. At the same time, the suspect’s family has on several occasions said he was not an aggressive type and that he had been at home until about 10 pm, which was when the killing occurred. The newspaper’s staff also maintain that, knowing Sidorov, it is impossible to imagine him taking part in the kind of brawl described by the investigators. BelarusEurope – Central Asia RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” May 28, 2021 Find out more Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown Follow the news on Belarus May 27, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

first_imgEvery year, a “dead zone” the size of Massachusetts sprawls across the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River, which travels through the nation’s farm belt, sweeps excess fertilizer and dumps the chemicals into the Gulf, where they feed rampant algae, deplete oxygen, and kill marine life.Across the U.S., smaller versions of similar dead zones infect lakes, ponds, and rivers. In years with higher rainfall — like 2018 — Massachusetts’ Charles River collects enough pollutants from surrounding city streets, parking lots, and landscaped campuses to cause the water quality to drop. Unchecked algae growth, often the result of excess fertilizer, can damage marine, human, and even pet health: This year, several dogs died after swimming in water choked with toxic blue-green algae.Now, Harvard scientists are teaming up with sustainability officers and landscaping experts to test a new fertilizer that won’t wash into water supplies. Using the Cambridge campus as a living laboratory, the team, which includes Dilek Dogutan, Quentin Gilly, and Paul Smith, plans to pilot the sustainable biofertilizer on Harvard’s grounds, starting this winter. Developed in the lab of Daniel Nocera, the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy, the living biofertilizer, which operates with just sunlight, air, and water, remains with the plants, produces bigger and healthier specimens, and is carbon-negative, absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and sequestering the dangerous greenhouse gas in the soil.The pioneering effort began last spring, when Dogutan, a principal research scientist in the Nocera group, got an email from the President’s Administrative Innovation Fund (PAIF). In it she saw an opportunity to apply her lab’s research to the campus right outside her window. In previous experiments, the team had used the biofertilizer to grow radishes more than three times the size of controls grown without fertilizer. But the experiments took place in the stable conditions of a greenhouse.“We wanted to take the research out of the controlled environment, to see the effect of soil acidity, air, temperature, humidity, everything,” Dogutan said. To do that, she needed help. Through PAIF, she formed a collaborative team with Gilly, the manager of laboratory sustainability and energy of the FAS Green Program in Harvard’s Office for Sustainability, and Smith, the associate manager of landscape services.,Gilly said the University is in the process of transitioning to all organic fertilizers, with a goal of 75 percent organic landscaping by 2020. But these fertilizers still end up in the water; the Nocera lab’s biofertilizer does not.Invented in 2018, the biofriendly fertilizer relies on an engineered cyanobacteria called Xanthobacter autotrophicus. The invention incorporates years of research, going back to Nocera’s artificial leaf technology, which splits water to make hydrogen and oxygen, performing photosynthesis better than any leaf.The new treatment uses the hydrogen from water splitting and combines it with nitrogen in air to produce ammonia, which plants can absorb into their roots. Since inorganic and organic fertilizers often give plants more nitrogen and phosphorous than they can use at one time, the excess gets washed away. But the biofertilizer stays safe within the plants’ roots, stored for future use.The innovation has another ecofriendly trick: The bacteria absorb carbon dioxide from the air. “Using the new biofertilizer methods across the U.S., we could remove significant amounts of CO2 per year by sequestering the carbon in the soil,” Dogutan said.With the help of the Office of Technology Development, Nocera, Pamela Silver, the Elliot T. and Onie H. Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, and Xiaowen Feng, a former member of her lab, founded a company called Kula Bio, which arranged a first field test off campus. Marching toward commercialization, Kula Bio hopes its product will replace all synthetic nitrogen fertilizers — those responsible for high levels of runoff and CO2 emissions — with a low-cost organic biofertilizer. “We have to do something because, really, we’re destroying the world. Coming to work every day is great, but what is our higher purpose? It’s not just sending those emails.” — Dilek Dogutan Related Unsafe levels of toxic chemicals found in drinking water of 33 states It takes a community to make compost Arnold Arboretum partners with local businesses to turn trash to dark-brown gold On campus, with funding from the PAIF, Dogutan and her team will perform large-scale tests of the fertilizer from winter 2020 through the following fall. But, with an earlier grant from the Campus Sustainability Innovation Fund, she has already planted two small test plots. In one, she and Daniel Loh, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Nocera Lab, cleared two parking spot-size gardens with a two-foot grass buffer between. Loh planted radishes, turnips, and spinach in each. Then, every week, he fertilized one with 100 milliliters of the engineered cyanobacteria mixed with waterand sprayed it over the plants. The other plot got just as much water, without the bacteria.From April to August, Loh and undergraduate researchers Ellen Deng and Lauren Church monitored the plants and collected data. Loh’s measurements showed that not only did the biofertilizer help his plants grow larger than those in the unfertilized plot, the bacteria did not leech into the surrounding plants. “Nutrients are taken up by plants before they can diffuse large distances,” he said.With the data collection complete, Loh ate his research: He harvested and shared his vegetables with the entire Nocera group.,Next, Deng wants to plant pink roses, her favorite flower. Gilly hopes to use the biofertilizer in campus rain gardens, which are designed by undergraduate students to better absorb rain water and prevent pooling. “Every year, the new first-years who come in are more and more passionate about environmental causes,” Gilly said. “They’re an ever-growing force of sustainability.”Over the next year, Dogutan and Harvard’s landscaping services will replace organic fertilizer with the biofertilizer on areas across Harvard’s Cambridge campus — the size of the plots only depends on how much of the new treatment they can get from Kula Bio, which is donating it. The more, the better, Dogutan said. More data will help her and the team hone their product for widescale use.“This is still very new research,” Dogutan said. “We are still trying to figure out the details: the loading, the sequence, maybe we need to design the bacteria in a different way.” Once they do, they hope to encourage all Harvard campuses to consider switching to the biofertilizer as a way to improve the University’s commitment to sustainability and eventually to win wider acceptance and perhaps end “dead zones.”“We have to do something because, really, we’re destroying the world,” Dogutan said. “Coming to work every day is great, but what is our higher purpose? It’s not just sending those emails. The higher purpose, at least for me, is giving back to the Harvard community the best way that I can.” High levels of fluorinated compounds have been linked to cancer, hormone disruptionlast_img read more