Somalia: Already 20 journalists arrested in the first half of 2020

first_imgNews The latest victim is Jabir Said Duale, a journalist also known as “Bulshawi,” who works for privately-owned Horyaal24 TV in northwestern Somalia’s self-proclaimed independent republic of Somaliland. He was released on 28 June under a pardon issued by Somaliland’s president after being held for seven days in the city of Erigavo. He was arrested twice, on 16 and 22 June, for filming an allegedly illegal protest in Erigavo about the failure to include civil society representatives in the historic peace talks that the presidents of Somalia and Somaliland have just held in an attempt to solve problems resulting from Somaliland’s decision to break away in 1991.Among the other Somali journalists arrested or summoned by the police in June was Bishar Ibrahin Adan, a local radio journalist who was arrested on 10 June in Burdhubo, a town in southern Somalia’s Gedo region, and was released without charge three days later. Abdishakur Mohamed Hassan, a reporter for privately-owned SAAB TV, was briefly detained on 12 June for covering a demonstration in Beledweyne, the capital of the central province of Hiraan. Somali Broadcasting Corporation’s Khadar Mohamed Tarabi and Universal TV’s Khadar Farah Rigah were arrested for covering a demonstration on 16 June in Las Anod, in Somaliland, and were held for 24 hours on the provincial governor’s orders.“Whether judicial detention, police arrests or just summonses for questioning, the level of abuses against Somali journalists continues to be very high,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “Only strong, ambitious measures will succeed in ending these practices, which amount to systematic intimidation. We reiterate our appeal to Somalia’s federal authorities and Somaliland’s local authorities to decree a moratorium on arrests of journalists pending a reform of media legislation that abolishes imprisonment for media offences.”During a meeting in Paris in November 2019 with Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre, RSF urged the rapid adoption of a national mechanism to protect and secure journalists. Somalia continues to be Africa’s deadliest country for journalists, with more than 50 killed in the past ten years. But efforts have nonetheless been made to combat impunity in recent years. A police officer who shot a journalist dead at a checkpoint was convicted in absentia and given a prison sentence. Two soldiers were discharged from the army for mistreating reporters. And, in response to a request from the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), a court has just ordered the attorney-general’s office to investigate the more than 50 murders of journalist that remain unpunished. February 24, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders (RF) calls on the Somali federal authorities to quickly declare a moratorium on arrests of journalists, which have surged in recent weeks. The steps taken to combat impunity for violence against journalists need to be accompanied by strong measures to reduce the number of arrests, RSF said. Follow the news on Somalia RSF requests urgent adoption of moratorium on arrests of journalists RSF_en January 8, 2021 Find out more News March 2, 2021 Find out more SomaliaAfrica Condemning abusesProtecting journalists ImprisonedFreedom of expressionJudicial harassment July 3, 2020 Somalia: Already 20 journalists arrested in the first half of 2020 Help by sharing this information center_img RSF and NUSOJ call for release of a journalist held in Somalia’s Puntland region News Radio reporter gunned on city street in central Somalia Somalia is ranked 163rd out of 180 countries and territories in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index. SomaliaAfrica Condemning abusesProtecting journalists ImprisonedFreedom of expressionJudicial harassment Organisation Journalists at a press conference addressed by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia. Mogadishu, March 15, 2016. AMISOM Photo / Ilyas Ahmed Receive email alerts News With 20 arrests of journalists since the start of the year, including five in June alone, Somalia arrests more reporters than almost any other country in sub-Saharan Africa. Only the Democratic Republic of Congo has conducted more arrests of journalists in the past six months. to go furtherlast_img read more

Scoreboard Roundup — 5/17/18

first_img Written by May 18, 2018 /Sports News – National Scoreboard Roundup — 5/17/18 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailiStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from yesterday’s sports events:MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Oakland 10, Toronto 5Boston 6, Baltimore 2Chi White Sox 4, Texas 2Tampa Bay 7, L-A Angels 1Detroit  3, Seattle 2L-A Dodgers 7, Miami 0Pittsburgh 5, San Diego 4Philadelphia 6, St. Louis 2Colorado 5, San Francisco 3 (12 Innings)Chi Cubs  at  Atlanta (POSTPONED)NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFSTampa Bay 4, Washington 2Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.center_img Beau Lundlast_img

Danish pension funds guarded about IT venture fund plan

first_img“Based on the generated results, we see a mixed picture,” he said. “Overall, Danish venture funds have not performed satisfactorily – in fact they underperformed compared to other investments.”Jan Østergaard, head of private investments at labour-market pension fund Industriens Pension, said: “Such an investment depends on a number of parameters, which we do not know yet.“Generally speaking, investments in Danish venture funds are relatively risky, and it is crucial be very selective in relation to which venture funds you will invest in.“We would like to consider it more closely if we get more details, but we will hardly invest a very large amount in the area due to the investment’s risk profile.”According to the plan, the fund – Dansk Venturekapital – is to be established along the same lines as two existing growth funds from state financing fund Vækstfonden, known as Dansk Vækstkapital 1 and 2. However, the new vehicle is to comprise 50% venture funds and 50% private equity funds, according to the proposal.It should be set up within the next one or two years, IT-Branchen said, so it is ready at the point when Vækstfonden has invested funds from Dansk Vækstkapital 2.Pension funds could invest half of the capital in the form of debt, with first losses covered by Vækstfonden, the proposal suggested.Peter Wilmar Christensen, co-founder of software company Greenwave Systems and chairman of IT-Branchen’s capital committee, said one in five IT businesses in Denmark found lack of capital was a significant barrier to growth and job creation.“If we are going to get growth companies up and running, we must have Denmark’s biggest money tanks in the game,” Christensen said. “The pension companies have some giant stores of money, but they are used to a large extent for bonds and shares in large international businesses.”He added: “Why not get some of these many billions of kroner out and working for small and medium-sized Danish companies, so that all Danes can benefit from the shift to digital?”But PFA’s Nøhr Poulsen said previous returns from Danish tech companies meant it would be more selective at home than in the US, for example.“We have similar investments in both Denmark and abroad,” he said. “Last year, we, together with ATP, invested in the private equity firm VIA equity, which has special focus on Danish tech companies, and we also hold investments in US venture capital funds investing in US tech companies.”However results were generally better in the US than the those seen in Denmark, he said.“This does not mean that we will refrain from making investments in Denmark, but our approach to Danish investments are much more selective in this area,” said Nøhr Paulsen. Danish pension funds PFA and Industriens have responded cautiously to a proposal from the country’s IT industry association to launch a state-supported venture capital fund for the sector.The Danish IT industry association, IT-Branchen, has outlined a proposal for a new venture capital fund-of-funds to raise money for the sector, targeting investment of 1% of pension fund contributions in Denmark, which would equate to around DKK1bn (€134m) a year.Henrik Nøhr Poulsen, chief investment officer of equities and alternatives at Denmark’s biggest commercial pensions provider PFA, told IPE: “We are very interested in investing in companies that create Danish jobs. However, it is [important] that the investments go hand in hand with PFA receiving a reasonable return proportional to the risk we take.”Nøhr Poulsen said venture capital was an area of investment he had studied and backed over the last 20 years.last_img read more

Referees named for match-day-17

first_imgThe Referees Committee has named match officials for the weekend’s First Capital Plus Premier League matches.Below is the list of referees and assistants for the match-day-16 fixtures.Friday, February 14Match: Amidaus vs Inter AlliesVenue: Tema StadiumReferee: Yaw Ametepe Assistant 1: Sam BorquayeAssistant 2: Sulemana Abudu4th Official: Ebenezer AmooMatch Commissioner: Fred PappoeSaturday, February 15 Match: Heart of Lions vs Wa All StarsVenue: Kpando ParkReferee: Otis OppongAssistant 1: E.B. BaidenAssistant 2: Luke Kofi Asare 4th Official: E.R. BineyMatch Commissioner: Eddie DokuMatch: Aduana vs Hearts of OakVenue: Agyemang BaduReferee: Ernest Baafi Assistant 1: Osei AgyemanAssistant 2: Emmanuel Baah4th Official: Patrick KyerematengMatch Commissioner : Leanier AddyMatch: King Faisal vs Hasaacas Venue: Baba YaraReferee: Prosper AdiiAssistant 1: A.S. MalikAssistant 2: Sylvester Bonuedi4th Official: Samuel Gyasi Match Commissioner : Baah Adoma AgyeiSunday, February 16Match: AshantiGold vs BechemVenue: Len ClayReferee: S.B. BorteyAssistant 1: Ben VormaworAssistant 2: B.A. Crentsil4th Official: Desmond AbbeyMatch Commissioner : Augustine Asantelast_img read more

Best car racers selected in Banjaluka

first_imgLast weekend in Banjaluka, champions of auto sport of BiH were chosen, and for the first time the organiser of this event is BiH Auto-moto Association.The winners were awarded with cup and awards.Nenad Lehpaner was awarded for winning in the category of hill roads as well as Davor Domazet. In H1400 category, the best was Goran Dojčinović, while in H1600 the best was Dane Milenović. In H2000 category, Bakir Hadžić was the winner while Suad Hoto won in the class H2000+, who also won the award ”Golden helmet” which is awarded to racers who win three consecutive championships.Also, the ”Golden helmet” was awarded to Boris Miljević in class of prototypes, while in the overall ranking, Branimir Simić from Bijeljina won the ”Golden helmet”.Auto Club ArcRACING from Sarajevo won the champion’s title in the category of clubs.In BiH Championship of circular paths, the best was Saša Milojević in N1 Class, Krešimir Bodnaruk in N3 class, Fuad Smajić in H1400 class, Hasan Ljubijankić in H1600 Class, Jasmin Golać in H2000 class and Suad Selimović in H2000+ class.The most successful and fastest drivers in the Driving Championship of Assessment Skill, carting championship of BIH and BiH 402 m acceleration races were also chosen at this ceremony.last_img read more

Donegal Tweed and green thinking lead Abbey VS students to success

first_imgThere was double success for Abbey Vocational School in Donegal Town last week when students brought home two awards from the National Student Enterprise Finals in Croke Park.The Donegal Town school students, under the guidance of their teacher Lucy Gordon, had taken both the top senior and junior awards at the Donegal finals in May and impressed the judges again last week at the national finals.Junior category entry Tweedelicious – make coasters from Donegal Tweed cut offs and their team of Sorcha Walsh, Summer Mae Kerr, Aoife Cox, Amy McGroary and Christina Gysling – made a big impression on the day, taking 3rd place in the junior category. Sorcha Walsh, Summer Kerr, Christina Gysling, Aoife Cox and Amy McGrory of Tweedalicious, Abbey Vocational School who took 3rd place in the Junior category at the National Student Enterprise Awards in Dublin last week.In the senior section, Aodhan McCrudden, Luke Kelly and Cormac Sweeney impressed the judges with their ‘Growth’ business,’ aimed at promoting greener and more environmentally friendly garden products.Having already won the overall award in Donegal, they received a special merit award at the national finals.Aodhan McCrudden, Cormas McSuibhne, Luke Kelly of Growth, Abbey Vocational School who received a special merit award at the National Student Enterprise finals in Dublin last week.The Student Enterprise Programme, organised by the Local Enterprise Office, is part of a national programme for secondary level school students with the ambition of encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship. It also allows students to understand the potential of being self employed as a career choice while educating them on the principles of business.In Donegal, the programme started in September with an idea generation workshop delivered at several locations across the county, before schools progressed to the county finals in March. Head of Enterprise in Donegal, Michael Tunney, said it was always pleasing to see Donegal competing on the national stage and praised the students for the standard of their entries.“The Local Enterprise Office is geared towards promoting the spirit of entrepreneurship in Donegal and we are glad to see such enthusiasm for the competition. We are always delighted to give our support to young entrepreneurs and it is always great to see awards coming back to the county from the national finals,” he said.Local Enterprise Office Donegal is supported through co-funding from the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014 – 2020. To contact the Local Enterprise Office in Donegal, log on to www.localenterprise.ie/donegal or phone 0749160735.Donegal Tweed and green thinking lead Abbey VS students to success was last modified: May 7th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

How Much Can a Cell Do Without?

first_imgThese papers are just two out of a growing body of knockout experiments that find out, by examining the wreckage, that there’s not much a cell doesn’t need.1Gao et al., “FZL, an FZO-like protein in plants, is a determinant of thylakoid and chloroplast morphology,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0507287103, published online before print April 14, 2006.2Wang et al., “Characterization of Su48, a centrosome protein essential for cell division,”Consider the problem this poses for neo-Darwinism.  Natural Selection depends on unfailing cell division – and not just any splitting of a cell into parts somewhere and somehow, but on the formation of highly accurate daughter copies of germline cells.  This is because (according to theory) only the daughter cells can preserve any beneficial variations produced by accident in the parent cell.  Otherwise, evolution comes to a sudden stop (see online book).    As revealed in the last century, cell division is a highly complex process with numerous players, all of which have vital functions.  Scientists apparently did not even know about Su48, but without it, cell division doesn’t work.  So here is another extra in the play, like a nameless stage hand, without whom it’s curtains for the Darwin show.    In the first article, plants (and animals, with their mitochondrial power plants), cannot harvest light without FZL.  The sweeping dioramas of evolutionary history that festoon museums and TV shows show photosynthesis and mitochondira just popping into existence (the Popeye theory of evolution, 05/31/2005; see also 03/31/2006 example), without any consideration of where to find all these essential players.  We’ve only provided two or three examples here; there are thousands.  And when you consider that the blind invention of even one protein is astronomically improbable (see online book), cell biologists had better throw off the Charlie sheet before their embarrassment reaches the ultimate.(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 In an old high school game, the leader would call some unsuspecting boy to the front, put a sheet over him, and say, “Take off what you don’t need.”  Perhaps a shoe would emerge from under the sheet.  “Take off something else you don’t need,” the leader would continue, and the volume of giggling in the room would rise as socks, a shirt, and whatever would emerge from under the covers.  If the young person was smart, he would realize the only thing he didn’t need was the sheet itself.    Scientists play this game in a more sophisticated manner with cells, in a process called gene knockout.  The idea is to disable a gene or protein and see what happens.  They can also overexpress the gene, or mutate it, for additional data.  If the cell gets by just fine, it must have been a nonessential part.  Usually, however, something terrible happens, even when the gene or protein was previously unknown.  Here are just a couple of examples from today’s PNAS:Power Plant Sabotage:  Scientists from Michigan State1 studied FZO, “dynamin-related membrane-remodeling protein that mediates fusion between mitochondrial outer membranes in animals and fungi.”  In the model plant Arabidopsis, they knocked out the plant-specific member of the dynamin superfamily, FZL.  This protein targets to the thylakoid membrane of the chloroplasts, the light-harvesting power plants of plants. Here’s what happened:fzl knockout mutants have abnormalities in chloroplast and thylakoid morphology, including disorganized grana stacks and alterations in the relative proportions of grana and stroma thylakoids.  Overexpression of FZL-GFP also conferred defects in thylakoid organization.  Mutation of a conserved residue in the predicted FZL GTPase domain abolished both the punctate localization pattern and ability of FZL-GFP to complement the fzl mutant phenotype.  FZL defines a new protein class within the dynamin superfamily of membrane-remodeling GTPases that regulates organization of the thylakoid network in plants.  Notably, FZL levels do not affect mitochondrial morphology or ultrastructure, suggesting that mitochondrial morphology in plants is regulated by an FZO-independent mechanism. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)This means that this specific protein was essential for just the thylakoid membrane inner structure, and there must be another essential mechanism affecting the overlying structure.  (Note: the capitalized acronym, FZL, refers to the protein, while the italicized lower-case acronym fzl refers to the gene that codes for it.)  They found that mutating or deleting the gene causes disaster – but so does overexpressing it.  This means that not only is FZL a key player, but the activity of its gene fzl must be regulated by something else.Centrosome Attack:  Mitosis, or cell division, has been studied for many decades, but now another essential player has been identified.  Scientists from Japan and Pennsylvania2 describe what happened when they played “take off what you don’t need” with a centrosome protein named Su48:The centrosome functions as the major microtubule-organizing center and plays a vital role in guiding chromosome segregation during mitosis.  Centrosome abnormalities are frequently seen in a variety of cancers, suggesting that dysfunction of this organelle may contribute to malignant transformation.  In our efforts to identify the protein components of the centrosome and to understand the structure features involved in the assembly and functions of this organelle, we cloned and characterized a centrosome-associated protein called Su48.  We found that a coiled coil-containing subdomain of Su48 was both sufficient and required for its centrosome localization.  In addition, this structure also modulates Su48 dimerization.  Moreover, ectopic expression of Su48 causes abnormal mitosis, and a mutant form of Su48 disrupts the localization of gamma-tubulin to the centrosome.  Finally, by microinjection of an anti-Su48 antibody, we found that disruption of normal Su48 functions leads to mitotic failure, possibly due to centrosome defects or incomplete cytokinesis.  Thus, Su48 represents a previously unrecognized centrosome protein that is essential for cell division.  We speculate that Su48 abnormalities may cause aberrant chromosome segregation and may contribute to aneuploidy and malignant transformation.last_img read more

Describing Star and Galaxy Growth Without Looking

first_imgAstronomers seem to know a lot about star birth and galaxy growth.  This is a strange thing, since no one has watched the process from start to finish.  Stars and galaxies are clearly observed in various shapes, sizes, and patterns.  How reliable is it to arrange them into an evolutionary sequence?    One way is with computers.  National Geographic News reported on work by astronomers at University of Edinburgh who got their computers to generate stars as spin-offs of black holes.  Imagine a gas cloud approaching a black hole.  “It begins rotating, and gas at the leading edge experiences a kickback of energy that flings it outward from the black hole and forms new stars.”  One astronomer outside the study had this to say: “As satisfying as the new results are, the case for disk fragmentation as the origin for the disk stars remains unproven.”  He pointed out that no such clouds are seen coming anywhere near the supermassive black hole assumed to exist at the center of the Milky Way.    How do galaxies grow?  That was the question asked by the title of an article on PhysOrg.  More audaciously, Science Daily added the line, “Massive Galaxies Caught in the Act of Merging.”  It seems that the European Very Large Telescope (VLT) and Hubble Space Telescope found some cluster members 4 billion light-years away that show peculiar arrangements that suggest mergers are happening.  “This discovery provides unique and powerful validation of hierarchical formation as manifested in both galaxy and cluster assembly,” the article claims.  Not only that, the astronomers claim that the stars were born 3 billion years earlier and were not affected by the mergers.Science should thrive on controversy and alternative models.  It is disturbing to see astronomers make statements that go far beyond the evidence with impunity.  Imagination may roam free among the stars, but the fact is, our bodies are stuck on Planet Earth.  Our theories should be grounded in that reality.(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Curtains for OOL: Oxygen Was Present from the Start

first_imgFree oxygen is death to life trying to evolve, but it was present early on, being formed naturally from atmospheric carbon dioxide.What is life?  What is the meaning of life?  Astrobiologist Chris McKay says it’s a tricky question, but on Astrobiology Magazine, he offers a contrasting challenge: “in the search for life in our solar system what is needed more than a definition of life is a definition of death.”  And what does it mean to be dead?  “It means that the organism was once alive and is composed of organic molecules that are specific to life — molecules such as DNA, ATP, and proteins.”  Life, therefore, consists of many non-living parts, but just putting the parts together doesn’t make them alive.Scientists at UC Davis didn’t say it directly, but origin of life research just got dealt a death blow.  A press release from UC Davis says that oxygen forms naturally from carbon dioxide:About one-fifth of the Earth’s atmosphere is oxygen, pumped out by green plants as a result of photosynthesis and used by most living things on the planet to keep our metabolisms running. But before the first photosynthesizing organisms appeared about 2.4 billion years ago, the atmosphere likely contained mostly carbon dioxide, as is the case today on Mars and Venus.Over the past 40 years, researchers have thought that there must have been a small amount of oxygen in the early atmosphere. Where did this abiotic (“non-life”) oxygen come from? Oxygen reacts quite aggressively with other compounds, so it would not persist for long without some continuous source.That continuous source was ultraviolet light from the sun.  It’s just a simple one-step process to get oxygen out of the atmosphere from CO2, the scientists found with lab simulations.  “According to one of the scientists who reviewed the paper for Science, Zhou’s work means that models of the evolution of planetary atmospheres will now have to be adjusted to take this into account.”This article was reproduced on NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine without any clarification of how models will have to be adjusted, or what it means for naturalistic origin-of-life hopes.  It ended, though, with this disclaimer: “Publication of press-releases or other out-sourced content does not signify endorsement or affiliation of any kind.”Here’s the adjustment they will have to make: evolution is dead.  Oxygen is death to prebiotic chemistry.  It reacts with everything the origin-of-life scientists want to cook up.  It destroys the amino acids the Millerites make with sparks; that’s why Miller carefully excluded it from his spark chambers.  Creationists have argued this for years (see Creation.com, Answers in Genesis, ICR).  Their views have now been vindicated; John Long’s evolution parade will have to fold up shop, because his Darwin magic show has no power.Evolutionists cannot get life to start if oxygen was around.  This is a make-or-break finding, and it just broke evolution.  Sorry, guys; game over.  Look for another explanation.  Creation, perhaps? (Visited 53 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Seriously, What is Going on with the App Store? Blocks, Delays, and Awful Apps Slipping Through

first_imgsarah perez The findings also reveal some other interesting trends, too. For example, although more games are launched each week, Music apps spend more time in the approval process. (No doubt while Apple verifies whether or not the app competes with iTunes). Then there is the issue of Apple telling a developer that their app will go live on a particular date but it doesn’t happen. The most recent example of this was with the new my6sense application. Because the company’s PR department had already briefed a number of bloggers with the information, articles were published anyway, albeit with an update about the delay. Unfortunately for the company, this was not the ideal situation. How awful must it have been to see post after post about the app go live without any download link included in any of them. That’s not just disappointing for the blog readers who can’t try the app right away, it no doubt affected the company’s bottom line, too. That App Should Not Have Been Approved Although Apple won’t reveal any details of their mysterious approval process, a number of “oopsies” and oversights lead some to wonder if there isn’t some sort of automation involved. That’s the only explanation as to why some apps, like the horrid “Baby Shaker” game (where you shake the baby until red X’s appear over his eyes) could have ever made it through. Such an oversight surely was not made by an actual person – at least not one who wanted to keep their job, that is. Other questionable applications have also been pulled like BeautyMeter, a “Hot or Not” type of app where user-submitted photos are voted on and rated. Some users went too far with their photos, leaving Apple to finally pull the app when a 15-year-old girl uploaded nude photos of herself. That occurrence made the app go from being risque to downright illegal in an instant. Perhaps Apple just didn’t see the potential dangers of that type of application, but their latest mistake again highlights the obvious holes in their approval process.For a brief period of time yesterday, Apple was hosting an app called theXchange whose sole purpose is to connect people who want to have sex. Clearly, this app should not have made the cut given Apple’s policies. So again, one has to wonder: what is going on with the approval process?Apple Needs to Shape UpThere’s no doubt that Apple is struggling with the large number of apps, the high visibility of their platform, and having to balance their goals with those of their carriers like AT&T. However, the problems, the delays, and, most importantly, their refusal to discuss the issues, is starting to give the company a bad reputation. For now, the souring feelings for Apple are probably just occurring in the developer community and among and tech pundits who watch the company closely. Still, it’s already been bad enough for some developers to bow out and for some high-profiletech bloggers to announce they’re ditching the iPhone for good. If Apple can’t address these issues in a timely fashion, then maybe it’s time for them to lift their cone of silence and say – if not why the issues have happened – then at the very least, “We’re Sorry.” Tags:#Apple#NYT#Trends#web Apple has never been one to be overly communicative with their developer community and the iTunes App Store is no exception. There is often little communication between Apple and developers when it comes to why an app is rejected or why its launch in the store is delayed. Now with the recent removal of all Google Voice related applications from the App Store – and again, with no explanations – at least one developer has had enough. But lack of communication is only one of the issues with today’s App Store approval process. O’Reilly Research is reporting today that the incubation period for apps is now trending upward – a figure that seems to speak to Apple’s becoming overwhelmed by the number of submissions. And finally, courtesy of Apple’s mysterious approval process, they’ve accidentally let yet another “adult”-themed application into the App Store once again.“I Can’t Say. It’s Just Against Our Policy”For four months, the developer of a third-party Google Voice application known as VoiceCentral hosted his application in the iTunes App Store. Then, one day, it was gone. There was no advanced notice and absolutely no explanation from the company. He contacted Apple for help. After a frustrating conversation with Apple employee “Richard,” the developer realized that Apple was simply refusing to discuss the problem. The conversation, a snippet of which is embedded below, is beyond absurd (Note – the developer says the conversation is not verbatim): Richard: “I’m calling to let you know that VoiceCentral has been removed from the App Store because it duplicates features of the iPhone.” Me: “I don’t understand that reasoning. By that logic wouldn’t apps like Textfree, Skype, fring, or iCall be considered duplicates?” Richard: “I can’t discuss other apps with you.” Me: “It’s not the apps themselves I want to discuss just the lack of consistency in rule enforcement.” Richard: “I can only say that yours duplicates features of the iPhone and was causing confusion in the user community. It’s against our policy.” Me: “So what has changed that it is now against policy? It has been in the store for the last 4 months with no problem. There wasn’t a problem for the 1.5 months prior to that when you were ‘reviewing’ it. And this didn’t come up with any of the updates we submitted after it was already in the store.” Richard: “I can’t say – only that yours is not complying with our policy.” Me: “Can you tell me what portions of the app were duplicate features?” Richard: “I can’t go into granular detail.” Me: “Is there something we can change or alter in order to regain compliance and get back in the Store?” Richard: “I can’t say.” Me: “Well if we can’t figure out the issue then how will we know whether to resubmit the app. And how will we know whether to invest in any other development efforts? Future apps could be impacted.” Richard: “I can’t help you with that” Along with the removal of the third-party applications, Apple also gave the boot to the official Google Voice Application at the same time. Some tech pundits reported it was AT&T who was behind the removal of these apps, since the Google Voice app essentially turns the iPhone into a dumb data device that routes calls over the iPhone’s data connection instead of over AT&T’s network – you know, the network where they get to charge you big money for long distance phone calls and such. Others weren’t so sure that AT&T was to blame, since there are still a number of other VoIP applications available in the App Store now including My Skype, TruPhone, Nimbuzz, and Fring.Sadly, the real truth may never be known because Apple isn’t talking.For one Apple developer, Steven Frank, watching the Google Voice debacle unfold was enough to put him off developing applications for Apple products altogether. Interestingly enough, Frank is not an iPhone developer – he develops apps for the Mac. But seeing how Apple was treating the mobile developer community left him “frustrated and disappointed,” he wrote in a candid blog post.“I’ve reached a point where I can no longer just sit back and watch this. The iPhone ecosystem is toxic, and I can’t participate any more until it is fixed. As people have told me so many times: It’s Apple’s ballgame, and Apple gets to make the rules, and if I don’t like it, I can leave. So, I don’t like it, and I’m leaving.”As for Google themselves, they aren’t sharing what (if any) conversation occurred between the two companies about the Voice app’s removal. But given the somewhat incestuous relationship between both industry giants (Apple and Google share two board members: Google CEO Eric Schmidt and former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson), we’ll probably never hear from them either.Delays, Delays, DelaysWhen it comes to getting an application published, there’s no doubt that Apple’s queue of apps pending approval is likely the largest in the business. That’s probably why the company is unable to offer consistent and reliable lead times for app approval to their developers. Some apps seem to get approved in a reasonable amount of time while others have actually sat in limbo for as much as six months. And it’s not just approvals that are subjected to this process. Application updates – patches that add features and fix major problems – are stalled for weeks on end at times, too. Says one iPhone developer: “I’m not happy with delays involved, and the seemingly arbitrary favoritism that’s evident. It’s either favoritism or just general chaos.”Today, new findings from O’Reilly Research put hard numbers to these sorts of complaints. They show that Apple’s incubation times are now trending upward. The “incubation time” is the period between the release date of an app and the date it first appears in iTunes. The release date of an app refers to the date developers upload their apps to iTunes Connect, the area where apps are managed. In between the release date and when the app appears in iTunes, Apple performs a number of undisclosed QA tests before making the app live in their store. Because a shorter incubation period translates to a more favorable position when users sort apps by release date, developers prefer to see the shortest incubation periods possible.As more apps are launched each week, the incubation period for these apps is increasing, says O’Reilly. They found that the mean incubation period for all app categories except for Travel is now on the rise. 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