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Pakistans Asia Bibi freed from jail

first_imgHis file undated handout photo released to AFP on 1 November 2018 via the UK charity British Pakistani Christian Association shows a portrait of Asia Bibi, who had been on death row in Pakistan since 2010, at an unknown location. Photo: AFPA Pakistani Christian woman who spent eight years on death row for blasphemy has been freed from jail and is believed to have already flown out of the city of Multan where she was being held, heading for an unknown destination, her lawyer said Thursday.Asia Bibi’s release comes a week after her acquittal in a landmark case that triggered angry Islamist protests in Muslim-majority Pakistan and following appeals from her husband for Britain or the United States to grant the family asylum. Her lawyer fled to the Netherlands on Saturday under threat to his life.Bibi’s conviction was overturned by the country’s highest court last Wednesday, but she remained in prison as the government negotiated with hardliners who blockaded major cities and demanded her immediate execution.”She has been freed,” lawyer Saif-ul-Mulook said in a text message to AFP. “I have been told that she is on a plane but nobody knows where she will land.”According to a civil aviation official, the aircraft that collected Bibi from jail would be required to land in Islamabad but it was unclear if she may have had a connecting flight.Following protests at last week’s ruling, the government agreed in a deal with Islamists to impose a travel ban on Bibi, and not to challenge an appeal in the Supreme Court.An order for her release arrived Wednesday at the jail in the central city of Multan where she was held, a prison official told AFP.”Asia Bibi has left the prison and has been transferred to a safe place!” tweeted Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament.Another civil aviation official, in Multan, said a small plane arrived in the city with “a few foreigners and some Pakistanis” on board to fetch Bibi.Her case has underscored deep divisions between traditionalists and modernisers in the devoutly Muslim country.The conviction stemmed from a 2009 incident when Bibi was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields.Muslim women labourers objected to her touching the water bowl as a non-Muslim, and a fight reportedly erupted.A local imam then claimed Bibi insulted the Prophet Mohammed.Bibi has consistently denied the charges, and her prosecution rallied international rights groups, politician, and religious figures.Pope Benedict XVI called for her release in 2010, while his successor, Pope Francis, met her daughter in 2015.Incendiary chargeBibi’s husband Ashiq Masih has appealed for Britain or the United States to grant the family asylum and several governments including those if Italy and France have offered to help.Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini tweeted: “I will do everything humanly possible to guarantee this young woman’s future.”Blasphemy is an incendiary charge in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even unsubstantiated allegations of insulting Islam can result in death at the hands of mobs.Mere calls to reform the law have provoked violence, most notably the assassination of Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, by his own bodyguard in Islamabad in 2011.Taseer had called for Bibi’s release, and his son Shahbaz tweeted “Pakistan Zindabad” (“Long live Pakistan”) following last week’s ruling.Thousands of Islamist hardliners poured onto the streets in protest after Supreme Court judges overturned Bibi’s conviction last Wednesday.Demonstrations broke out in major cities across the country in the wake of the ruling, with club-wielding protesters blocking Islamabad’s main highway and barricading roads in Karachi and Lahore.One of the most vocal groups in the protests — the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) — called for “mutiny” against the army’s top brass and the assassination of the top court’s justices.In a statement, the TLP termed Bibi’s release “against the government agreement”.”The entire atmosphere of Pakistan is in pain and grief after hearing the news about the blasphemer of the holy prophet Asia,” it said.One resident in Multan, Rizwan Khan, told AFP that Bibi would not be safe wherever she went, while another, Qari Muneer, said the decision should be reversed and called for her to receive “strict punishment”.last_img read more

How Local SEO Works and Why It Matters for Small Businesses

first_imgApril 17, 2014 Local search is a way for search engines to offer the most relevant results to users, which are calculated according to location data. After all, if you’re looking for a flower shop, you’re going to want to find one nearby, right?It’s also a great tool for small businesses because the competition is smaller — you’re only competing for position with other businesses in the same location. The better visibility you have on a SERP (search engine results page), the more likely that someone will click and convert.Local search results are displayed in one of two ways on Google: the new Google carousel or in a listing format. The carousel format has organic and paid listings, and also comprises a map plotted with local destinations. Additionally, an indented list is sometimes used that makes it easy to see important information right away — address, phone number and reviews.Here are eight tried and tested tips to help improve your businesses’ local search position right away:Related: Start Preparing Your SEO for the ‘Internet of Things’1. Claim your business. Creating a local page is as easy as visiting Google’s dedicated site and signing in. You will be prompted to type in the name of your business, but be aware that your business may already exist in local search — even if you weren’t the one who added it. What you’ll need to do, then, is claim it.2. Categorize your pages. Pay special attention to how you categorize your business. During the process of creating or claiming your page, you will be asked to select a primary category, which is the most important category you will choose. Search engines have been known to not display a business that isn’t categorized at all, and if your business is improperly categorized, you’re pretty much in the same boat. After you choose your primary category, you will be allowed to choose up to nine addtional categories for your business, too.3. Be consistent. Make sure that your business is listed consistently across the web. This means that your name, address and phone number (often called NAP data) need to be the same when it comes to your local accounts, directory listings and any other mentions of your business.Related: 5 Dead-Simple SEO Hacks to Save You TimeIf your business has been listed somewhere on the web unknowingly, you’ll need to track down that listing and claim it so that you can edit all of the information to be consistent (or contact whoever is in charge to get the information changed.) Something as simple as a hyphen or a missing suite number can change everything. You can find unclaimed listings by doing a search or using tools like Yext or Localeze.4. Quantity and quality. I recommend using the Moz Local tool to make sure that you have a listing in some of the highest quality directories on the web. In order to improve your quantity, do searches for both category and geographic terms to see if there is somewhere you should be listed but are not. Whitespark’s Local Citation Finder is also an excellent tool to help you find more opportunities.5. Reviews. Reviews are often showcased right on a SERP. You can’t do much to up your good reviews, but just working to get more reviews in general should give you a healthy ratio of accurate appraisals. Google will look at reviews as a ranking factor when it comes to local search, but, more than anything, reviews are for searchers. I personally predict that reviews are going to be much more important in the future of Google and local rankings — but, for now, they are just a small part.Related: How to Choose and Purchase a Domain Name6. On-page optimization. Once your local listing is complete, make sure you’re using every opportunity you have to make it look appealing. Post quality photos (a lot of them) and make sure your description is keyword-rich and really tells visitors what you’re all about. Finally, make sure everything is filled out — hours, address, contact information, menu (if applicable), etc.7. Quality inbound links. Aside from just local citations, you should try to earn a good number of quality inbound links from authoritative sources. These can come from anywhere — newspapers, local business indexes, bloggers, etc. You can help increase your number of inbound links through social sharing, content development and outreach.8. Hire a local SEO company? All of these steps can be taken in-house, but don’t forget that SEO never stops. You can’t set and forget. There is always work that can be done because the search world is always evolving. If you decide you don’t have the time, a reputable SEO firm will start at a couple hundred dollars a month. Be sure to check how reputable they are in the industry.Related: 6 Ways to Master SEO Without Google Analytics Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now » 5 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goalslast_img read more

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