Birthday celebrations on hold for John Barclay

Barclay hopes the many Kiwis with Scottish connections will turn out to support Andy Robinson’s side as they battle with England, Argentina, Georgia and Romania for the two quarter-final spots from Pool B. “As a bare minimum our aim would be to get into the quarter-finals and then re-evaluate the situation,” he says.First Scotland have two warm-up games at Murrayfield, against Ireland on 6 August and Italy on 20 August. As one of the players Robinson withdrew from club rugby in April and May to help their World Cup preparations, Barclay is itching to play again.“It was exciting just to get back into contact work in training during July,” he says. “Warm-up games are billed as friendlies but when people have been training in the gym for a couple of months and then get out onto a pitch it can be pretty brutal! Every team will want to win and players will want to put their hand up for selection.”So as well as opponents, Barclay’s rivals within the Scotland squad had better be on their guard.This article appeared in the September 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.Find a newsagent that sells Rugby World in the UK Barclay challenging the Irish defenceHow did you spend your 25th birthday? Did you have a party, or a fun day out, or maybe you just went to the pub? I’m sure I did. John Barclay won’t be making merry. Instead, he hopes to be preparing for one of the biggest games of his life as he hits the quarter-century on 24 September – the day before Scotland meet Argentina in the World Cup. But having a birthday overshadowed by a rugby match is nothing new to the openside. Indeed, his 21st birthday fell the day after his Test debut for Scotland, during the last World Cup, so he was more concerned about recovering from the 40-0 defeat by the All Blacks than blowing out his candles. And if Scotland can beat Argentina next month it will set them on course for a place in the World Cup quarter-finals, and who could ask for a better present than that?Barclay’s plans for his birthday pan out like this: “There will be a captain’s run and then you have to relax for most of the day, just chilling out with your feet up,” he says. “I like to wander out for a coffee with some of the lads. There won’t be too many beers!”When Scotland’s squad for the 2007 World Cup was named, Barclay was the only uncapped player. An outstanding age-group flanker who had been training with the national squad since just before his 18th birthday, he was delighted to be included, but had mixed feelings after the tournament.“It was incredible to experience a World Cup, especially in France where they really embraced the tournament and the crowds were great for every game,” he says. “Yet I ended up feeling frustrated because I was away for a long time and only played one game. People forget how long you spend preparing for a World Cup too. We had a countdown clock on the wall of the gym and when I first went in there I think it was two months to go before the tournament. But I had to remember I was lucky to be in that position and there were other players who were desperate to be where I was.”Ally Hogg was the first-choice openside back then but Barclay got a start when the then Scotland coach, Frank Hadden, controversially rested many front-line players for a pool game against the All Blacks, preferring to concentrate on beating Italy to secure the runners-up spot in the pool. “There were mixed emotions for my first cap because it was great to get it but we were beaten by 40 points,” says Barclay. “The papers were saying it was disgraceful to put out such a side against the All Blacks. I was disappointed that the Italy game seemed like the be-all and end-all of our tournament. We were so focused on beating Italy that we then missed a chance to win the quarter-final.”Barclay has come a long, long way since then. He has started every Scotland Test since the end of November 2009 and put in Man of the Match-winning performances against Argentina last summer and South Africa last November. “It certainly seems like a long time ago that I got my first cap,” he says. “I’ve matured and I’d be disappointed if I wasn’t a far better player now. Physically I’m in a lot better shape. The way rugby is played has changed too, with the new law interpretations.”This will not be Barclay’s first trip to New Zealand, as he spent a few months there in 2005 on a Scottish scholarship programme, playing with the Marist St Pats club in Wellington and the Wellington Academy. “The trip was a real eye-opener to what a huge deal rugby is over there,” he says. “I was there when the Lions were there and 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all anyone was talking about in the pubs and shops was rugby. The adverts on the cereal packets all have rugby players in them. They are real superstars. Playing club rugby and being involved in the Wellington Academy I could see the numbers they have, and the quality they have in reserve is frightening at times.“It’s a rugby-crazy country so if I get the chance to be in that environment again and go back four years after winning my first cap against New Zealand, that would be an incredible experience.” LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Or perhaps you’d like a digital version of the magazine delivered direct to your PC, MAC or Ipad? If so click here. For Back Issues Contact John Denton Services at 01733-385-170 visit read more

Fact-finding visit: Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor

first_imgReports “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says News May 28, 2021 Find out more BelarusEurope – Central Asia Receive email alerts Reporters Without Borders visited Russia from 23 to 25 January with two aims – to pay tribute to human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and Novaya Gazeta’s young reporter, Anastasia Baburova, who were gunned down on 19 January in Moscow, and to investigate the possible reasons for their murder.“Even if no hypothesis should be ruled out, the information we obtained indicates that particular attention should be paid to the possibility that this double murder was linked to a very violent attack in November on Mikhail Beketov, a journalist based just outside Moscow in Khimki,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We urge those in charge of the investigation not to neglect this angle.”The press freedom organisation continued: “The situation of Russian journalists based in the provinces is particularly difficult. They are confronted with local authorities who wield a great deal of power and they usually lack the resources of their Moscow-based colleague. Nonetheless, their work is just as important.”The organisation added: “Journalists and human rights activists have been traumatised by last week’s double murder, and we will follow the investigation with the utmost attention. The authorities should react to the very probable link between this double murder and the attempted murder of Beketov by taking measues to combat the impunity prevailing in Khimki.” Markelov was silently buried at 11 a.m. on 23 January in Moscow’s Ostankinskoye Kladbish cemetery. Hundreds of people came to pay tribute to the lawyer, who had acted for the victims of human rights abuses in Chechnya and for many journalists, including Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered in 2006. The head of the Reporters Without Borders Europe and ex-USSR desk attended the funeral and interviewed Markelov’s relatives, journalists and human rights activists. The editor of Khimkinskaya Pravda, a newspaper based in the Moscow satellite city of Khimki, Beketov is still hospitalised and in a very serious condition as a result of the savage beating he received outside his home on 13 November. He had opposed the proposed construction of a Moscow – St. Petersburg motorway that would go through Khimki forest – a project supported by the Khimki municipal government.Khimki mayor Vladimir Strelchenko, who is running for reelection, brought a libel suit against Beketov, who was ordered to pay 1 million roubles (25,000 euros) in damages. Markelov was his lawyer. According to Elena Kostyuchenko of Novaya Gazeta, Beketov probably shared a lot of the information he had about the Khimki authorities with Markelov. At the time of the attack, Beketov had been about to publish an article about the business activities of the family of Galina Ragina, the mayor’s wife. Now, neither Beketov nor Markelov will be able to contribute to the debates preceding the 1 March local elections.The only real opposition candidate was Evgenia Chirikova, the young head of the Khimki Forest Defence Association, to which Beketov belonged. But she has not been allowed to run. The mayor and one of his associates are the only two candidates with a chance of winning. Chirikova told Reporters Without Borders she is appealing against the ban on her candidature. She showed Reporters Without Borders some of the threatening SMS messages she had received.The political tension in Khimki has affected the media. TV Tsentr dedicated its “Moment of Truth” programme on 12 and 13 January to the situation in Khimki and the attacks on journalists. Viewers in Khimki are normally able to receive the station’s signal by satellite, but not on those two days. The local parliamentary representative of the Liberal Party Labloko, Sergei Mitrokhin, has decided to file a complaint against this act of censorship.Reporters Without Borders was also told that issues of the newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta which had articles about Beketov were not distributed in Khimki.As well as Khimkinskaya Pravda, Khimki has another independent newspaper, Grajdanskoye Sogloasiye. Its editor, Anatoli Yurov, has also been the target of violence on several occasions. He suffered concussion in the second attack, and was stabbed about 10 times in the third one. No one has ever been arrested for the attacks and his requests to the authorities for protection have been ignored.The cases Markelov had been working on were all so sensitive that it is hard to single out any one of them as the probable cause of his murder. There are three other cases that deserve at least some consideration.One is the case of Yuri Budanov, a former army colonel who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2003 for the murder of a young Chechen woman, Elsa Kungayeva, and who was granted early release this month. Markelov, who represented the family of the young woman, was gunned down just after giving a news conference in which he announced his intention to appeal against Budanov’s released. He had received threatening SMS messages relating to the case.There are at least two other cases linked to Chechnya that could have made enemies for Markelov. One involved accusations of murder and kidnapping against a former policeman known as “Cadet,” who had also threatened Politkovskaya. The other was the disappearance of Mokhmadsalakh Masayev, a young Chechen who had accused current Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov in Novaya Gazeta of setting up secret detention centres in Chechnya. Masayev said he was abducted and tortured for four months.What Markelov and Baburova had in common was their opposition to Russia’s extreme right-wing movements. Baburova had specialised in covering these groups, which are responsible for several hundred murders every year. Markelov, who was himself assaulted by neo-Nazis in 2004, had represented several anti-fascist activists.Although the Budanov case was immediately assumed to have been the most probable cause of Markelov’s murder, many of the people questioned by Reporters Without Borders did not share this view.The Association of Lawyers said Budanov had nothing to gain from Markelov’s death as he had already been released. This view is shared by Oleg Mitvol, an ecologist and deputy director of the Federal Agency for the Control of Natural Resource Use, who pointed out that Markelov was one of three lawyers acting for the Kungayeva family. Why single out him and not the other two, he asked.Beketov case Mikhail Beketov has been hospitalised at Moscow’s Sklifosovski Institute since 16 November, three days after the attack. As a result of the multiple injuries he sustained, a leg and several fingers were amputated, bone splinters were extracted from his brain and he remained in a deep coma until 27 November. He relapsed into a coma at the start of January and had to be put back on a respirator. Since then his family has been requesting his transfer to the Burdenko Hospital, which specialists in neurosurgery.Reporters Without Borders has written to health and social development minister Tatiana Golikova supporting the family’s request for his transfer to the Burdenko Hospital. The organisation asked the minister “to do everything in your power to make this transfer possible… and thereby demonstrate you desire to help journalists when they are targeted because of their work.” Open letter BelarusEurope – Central Asia Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown News Help by sharing this information to go further RSF_en center_img Follow the news on Belarus Madam Tatiana A. GolikovaMinister of Health and Social Development Human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and Novaya Gazeta reporter Anastasia Baburova were gunned down on 19 January in central Moscow. Human rights activists and journalists have been traumatised by the double murder, which may be linked to local newspaper editor Mikhail Beketov’s attempted murder last November. Reporters Without Borders has been investigating. May 27, 2021 Find out more January 28, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Fact-finding visit: Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor News Organisation RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” ————————————————————- Jean-François JulliardSecretary-General June 2, 2021 Find out more Paris, 26 January 2009Dear Minister,Reporters Without Borders, an international press freedom organisation that won the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2005, would like to draw your attention to the state of health of Mikhail Beketov, the editor of the newspaper Khimkinskaya Pravda.The victim of a murder attempt on 13 November, Mr. Beketov is currently hospitalised at the Sklifosovskii Institute, where he is in a serious condition. His state of health deteriorated at the start of January and his family requested his transfer to the Burdenko Hospital so that he could receive appropriate treatment.Reporters Without Borders supports this request and urges you, Madam Minister, to do everything in your power to make this transfer possible.Mr. Beketov is a courageous journalist who narrowly escaped death in an attack that was very probably linked to his work. As a result of the serious injuries he sustained in the attack, a leg and several fingers have been amputated. His convalescence will be long and difficult. It is for this reason that we ask you to intercede on his behalf and thereby demonstrate you desire to help journalists when they are targeted because of their work.We trust, Madam Minister, that you will appreciate the importance of this request and that, thanks to your intercession, Mr. Beketov’s serious injuries will receive the best possible treatment.Respectfully,last_img read more