The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal turned 21 on Tuesday and used the occasion to project party chief and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as a possible prime ministerial candidate of any grand Opposition alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The party also vowed to work to ensure a secular and progressive India under the leadership of 63-year-old Ms. Banerjee. Describing 2019 as the “year of change”, senior TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee said the party is “standing at a historic juncture where it wants to play a vital role in New Delhi in favour of the working class”.Good daysMr. Banerjee, the nephew of the TMC chief, said the year will bring good days (achche din) in the country. “The year of 2019 is a year of change and struggle. We should fight hard in order to ensure that we are able to gift the people of this country a secular and progressive India in New Delhi under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee,” he said in a video message on the TMC’s 21st Foundation Day. “Our party has turned 21 today. The number 21 assumes immense significance as it signifies struggle, youthfulness and change,” he added. TMC was founded on January 1, 1998, by Mamata Banerjee, who was herself baptised into politics by the Congress. At present, the TMC has 34 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats from West Bengal.Ms. Banerjee congratulated party workers on the occasion. “The journey which began on January 1, 1998, has been full of struggles, but we have been steadfast in our resolve to fight for the people #Trinamool21 …We are thankful to Maa-Mati-Manush for their constant support. And the workers who work hard 365 days a year for the people. A big salute to you,” she said.Anti-BJP front The TMC, which has been eyeing a wider political space for the last few years, has been at the forefront of forming an anti-BJP Opposition alliance and convened a rally of Opposition parties in Kolkata on January 19.Ms. Banerjee has been touring the country and has met leaders of several parties in a bid to forge opposition unity to take on the BJP. The TMC observed the day in the State in every block and subdivision and also at the panchayat level. The party flag was hoisted at the Trinamool Bhavan by party general secretary Subrata Bakshi. Blood donation camps, blanket distribution and cultural events were also held across the State.
Before a pro-McGregor crowd that roared every time the UFC star landed a punch, Mayweather methodically broke him down after a slow start to score his first real stoppage in nearly a decade. He did it in what he said would be his final fight, against a fighter who had never been in a professional boxing match.McGregor boxed surprisingly well early. But after landing some shots in the first three rounds, his punches seemed to lose their steam, and Mayweather went on the pursuit. McGregor backpedaled most of the way, stopping only to throw an occasional flurry as Mayweather wore him down.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see,” Mayweather said. “I owed them for the (Manny) Pacquiao fight.”McGregor had vowed to knock Mayweather out within two rounds, and he won the early rounds with movement and punches to the head. But the tide of the fight turned in the fourth round as Mayweather seemed to figure out what he had to do and began aggressively stalking McGregor. Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim LAS VEGAS, NV – AUGUST 26: (R-L) Floyd Mayweather Jr. throws a punch at Conor McGregor during their super welterweight boxing match on August 26, 2017 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFPLAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Jr. figured out a 50th opponent, letting Conor McGregor have the early rounds before stalking him late and leaving the mixed martial artist defenseless and exhausted on the ropes.Mayweather battered McGregor around the ring in the later rounds, finally stopping him at 1:05 of the 10th round Saturday night with a flurry of punches that forced referee Robert Byrd to stop the fight.ADVERTISEMENT “I was a little fatigued,” he said. “He was composed in there, that’s what 50 pro fights can give you.”Mayweather ran his record to 50-0, surpassing Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record and giving himself a great parting gift. He repeated afterward that he was not going to fight again.“This is my last fight for sure. 50-0 sounds good, I’m looking forward to going into the Hall of Fame,” Mayweather said. “I picked the best dance partner to do it with.”Irish fans arrived by the thousands in the days before the fight, filling the arena for the weigh-in and boisterously cheering for their man. They even went off in the middle of the night and spray painted an Irish flag and “49-1” on a billboard on Interstate 15 promoting Mayweather’s businesses.The capacity crowd at the arena cheered McGregor on, but they quieted as the fight progressed and Mayweather showed his dominance.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Philippines falls to Vietnam in bronze medal match Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games LATEST STORIES Biggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul MOST READ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side “I turned him into a Mexican tonight,” McGregor said. “He fought like a Mexican.”In a fight so intriguing that it cost $10,000 for ringside seats, McGregor turned in a respectable performance for someone in his first fight. But Mayweather’s experience and his ring savvy paid off as he executed his game plan to perfection.“Our game plan was to take our time, go to him and take him out in the end,” Mayweather said. “I guaranteed everybody this fight wouldn’t go the distance.”Mayweather was widely criticized for not going after Pacquiao in their megafight, and he didn’t make the same mistake this time. In a fight that could make him $200 million he seemed to stagger McGregor with a series of punches in the ninth round, then came back in the 10th eager to finish it off.McGregor went over and hugged Mayweather. He seemed almost happy in the ring afterward, secure that he had given a good performance even in losing.ADVERTISEMENT View comments
QR codes and their ilk continue to rise in usage by publishers, according to a study out today by mobile marketing and technology services company Nellymoser. In the second quarter, the top 100 magazines by circulation featured a variety of mobile action codes in 2,200 instances, a 61 percent jump over the first quarter this year.The study doesn’t track scan rates or actions taken post scan, but the printing of QR codes, digital watermarks and other action codes is definitely on the rise—in the first quarter of 2011, there was a comparatively modest 352 codes printed. And, at the end of first half 2012, the number of action codes printed is already coming close to the 4,468 that were printed during all of 2011.See Also: Mobile Action Codes Increased 439 Percent in Top 100 Mags Last YearWhile the instances of codes appearing in the top 100 magazines went from 1,365 to 2,200 the number specifically appearing in advertisements also jumped, going from 5 percent of ad pages in the second quarter 2011 to 10 percent this year. For the first time all 100 of the top magazines featured at least one action code. And of all the codes, QR codes are still the most prevalent, with more than 80 percent market share since December 2011. The beauty, health and automotive categories accounted for 49 percent of all action codes in the second quarter, with automotive more than doubling its use of codes between the first and second quarter. Video continues to be the most common use for action codes, with 40 percent of codes leading to a product demo, behind the scenes look or some other clip. Sweepstakes and social sharing were also heavily used at 20 percent of instances. For more, see the full study here.Action Codes by QuarterSource: Nellymoser, Inc.
“Bob quickly emerged as the candidate who would bring a powerful new perspective to our business,” says Christopher Coughlin, D&B’s current lead director, in a statement. “His track record of strategic leadership and innovation, combined with his ability to leverage a company’s core strengths and assets, uniquely position him to begin a new chapter in D&B’s history.”Replacing Carrigan will be IDG Enterprise CEO Michael Friedenberg, who will become CEO of IDG Communications U.S. David Hill, CEO of IDG International Publishing Services, will become president, overseeing international aspects of the media operation, among other responsibilities. Revenue at D&B was up one percent in the second quarter to $386.4 million, but flat for the first half at $767.4 million when compared to the same periods last year. Dun & Bradstreet Corp., the business data and marketing and risk management services provider, has selected Bob Carrigan as its new president, CEO and director. The appointment comes a month after Carrigan announced he was stepping down as CEO of IDG Communications Worldwide.Carrigan starts at D&B on October 7. He’ll be replacing Sara Mathew, who will be retiring from her position as the company’s chairman and CEO. Carrigan’s post at IDG Communications officially ends on September 30, at which point he’ll join the company’s board of directors.
Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). Apple iPhone XS Paddle through 16 breathtaking and prize-winning underwater photos $999 Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays 16 Photos Tags Best Buy Read DJI Osmo Action preview $299 at Amazon Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) Read Google Home Hub review Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Sarah Tew/CNET $520 at HP Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) CNET may get a commission from retail offers. The Cheapskate The parks department offers a link to a page from the group Amphibians and Reptiles of North Carolina, which explains the snake’s zombie behavior in more detail. “When threatened, hognose snakes hiss loudly and spread their necks like cobras do, resulting in the nicknames ‘puff adder’ or ‘spreading adder,'” the page explains. “They rarely bite during these displays, but they may strike repeatedly. If the antagonist continues, the hognose snake will feign death by opening its mouth, rolling over on its back, and writhing around. If turned over onto its belly, it will immediately roll again onto its back.”It gets even more horror-movie-like when you learn that “enlarged teeth in the rear of the (snake’s) mouth are used to ‘pop’ toads for easier swallowing.” That’s toad-ally disturbing. But to humans, the snake isn’t much of a threat. Katie Hall of the parks department told Fast Company that while the snake does have venom, it very rarely bites people, and the bites are treatable.”It’s not like your flesh is going to rot or you’re going to lose a limb or something,” Hall said.North Carolina State Parks has declared 2019 to be the “year of the snake,” and is urging residents to “scale back your fear” by learning about the creatures. Forget The Walking Dead. Try The Crawling Dead. Last week, the North Carolina State Parks and Recreation Department warned citizens about a “zombie snake” in the state that knows how to play dead.In the post, the department shared images of the eastern hognose snake lying on its back, mouth open, pretending to be dead. “Let’s play a game!” the post declared. “Who is this ‘famous’ NC snake? A cobra? A zombie snake? It’s a harmless one.” $60 at Best Buy Sarah Tew/CNET $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express $59 at eBay Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. $999 I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. Sprint Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. See at Amazon Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. See It Rylo Boost Mobile Angela Lang/CNET Share your voice Read the Rylo camera preview The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. Sarah Tew/CNET $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express 7 Sci-Tech,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. 1 Share your voice Comments Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. $155 at Google Express See at Turo What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Turo $999 See it Comment JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. $999 Read the AirPods review See It $210 at Best Buy Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Tags Chris Monroe/CNET HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) Sarah Tew/CNET Read Lenovo Smart Clock review DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. $6 at Tidal See It Turo: Save $30 on any car rental Amazon
10:55 Samsung Event Comments No secure face unlockIn that same vein, because the Note 10 only has a standard front-facing camera, it can’t carry out any secure facial scanning like the iPhone XS’ Face ID and the LG G8’s time-of-flight camera, which maps your face with infrared. Instead, Samsung has stuck with fingerprint scanning, which it moved from the back of the phone to inside the screen.The Note 10’s S Pen. Sarah Tew/CNET No camera in the S PenA rumor speculating that Samsung was going to put a camera inside the Note 10’s S Pen may have seemed far fetched, but it didn’t sound too crazy considering Samsung had apparently filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office, according to Patently Mobile. The patent was for an “electric pen device” that “includes an optical system including a lens and an image sensor.”As we now know, the camera didn’t make it into the S Pen this time around. But who knows what this patent has in store for future Note iterations. For now, Samsung updated the stylus to have more remote control over the phone’s camera. Called “Air Gestures,” you can now switch the camera lens, change camera modes and zoom in and out with the wave of your S Pen. Tags Galaxy Note and Note 10 Plus are here to wow you Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus look incredible 1:53 No headphone jack and no dongleOne of the most notable features missing from all the Note 10 phones is a headphone jack. The familiar audio port began disappearing in 2016 when Lenovo/Motorola and Apple lopped it off their phones. Since then, the feature became a rarity among premium phones, and up until the Note 10, Samsung’s Note line was one of the last high-end phones to include the port.Those who are eyeing the Note 10 devices will have to make do with using Bluetooth headphones or carrying around a dongle that surprisingly, does not come included with the phone (Samsung is selling it separately for $10 extra). But for others adamant about holding onto their wired headphones, there are still some phones available to accommodate that, including Samsung’s own Galaxy S10 line. The Note 10 welcomes you to the dongle life for $10 more. Sarah Tew/CNET Note 10 bids farewell to microSD Being able to increase your phone’s storage with a microSD card used to be a common capability for Note owners. Unfortunately, the Note 10 will not have expandable storage. Keep in mind that the larger Note 10 Plus still has a microSD card slot, but if you’re considering the 6.3-inch Note 10, you’ll have to make do with just built-in storage. The Note 9’s microSD card slot. Angela Lang/CNET Head of Mobile for Samsung Electronics America Suzanne De Silva told CNET that the company decided to get rid of the microSD card slot so that the phone could be thinner but have a bigger battery. Interestingly, the Galaxy S10 has expandable memory and it’s as thin as the Note 10 at 0.31-inch. The Note 10 also has a smaller battery than the Note 9, which also has room for a microSD card slot.True, the phone’s 256GB of onboard memory should be plenty to store all your photos, videos and apps. But if you’re planning to have the device for years down the line and you don’t use cloud storage, expandable memory is a convenient feature to be able to fall back on.No redesign overhaulWhile it’s true that the New 10 phones come in eye-catching colors like Aura Glow and Aura Pink (in the UK), the devices look relatively the same as last year’s and even the year before. The thinner bezels and smaller hole-punch camera do keep the phone looking modern, but overall the design remains similar. This is in contrast to one particularly interesting rumor that floated around before the Note 10 event. It speculated that Samsung would adopt a completely buttonless design and the Note would have “active edges” that users could squeeze to navigate the phone, similar to the Pixel 3. Though we don’t get a completely buttonless look, at least Samsung removed one button we can all agree we didn’t want: Bixby.The Note 10 in Aura Glow. Sarah Tew/CNET No second selfie camera on Note 10Unlike the Galaxy S10 Plus and the Galaxy S10 5G, none of the Note 10 phones have a second front-facing camera. We somewhat expected one — whether it be a wide-angle camera like the S10 Plus or a depth-sensing camera like on the S10 5G — because the Note 10 usually represents Samsung’s ultraluxe line. However, with more Galaxy phones than ever before, it looks like Samsung isn’t throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the Note 10 anymore. By pulling back on a few features, the Note 10 is now cheaper than the Note 9 was at launch, making the phone more accessible to a wider audience. 62 Photos 15 Share your voice Andrew Hoyle/CNET Samsung’s latest phones, the Note 10, Note 10 Plus and Note 10 5G, serve as the successors to 2018’s Note 9, and they pack many new features for a phone series that has been around since 2011. The Note 10 Plus, for example, is the company’s first “plus” version of its Galaxy Note phone, and the Note 10 5G is Samsung’s second 5G phone, after the Galaxy S10 5G. In addition to the bigger size and next-gen network capabilities, the Note 10s come in an array of new colors and are equipped with updated camera and video editing tools, like AR Doodle. But there are several other things we didn’t get from the Note 10, too — either specs that were dropped from the previous model or features we anticipated because of the active rumor mill that swirled around the phone before it launched. Read on to see what Samsung didn’t deliver at its Aug. 7 Unpacked event, and tell us what you want to see in the next Note phones. Are you going to buy the Note 10 or are you waiting for something better? Now playing: Watch this: 3D scanner brings real objects to life on the Galaxy… Now playing: Watch this: Mobile Phones Samsung
Digraj Singh ShahpuraPR HandoutDigraj Singh Shahpura, a popular Indian fashion designer who belongs to the royal clan of Shahpura has been instrumental in promoting Indian heritage and culture through his exclusively designed ethnic apparel.He is also known for doing some exclusive and innovative work in the field of hospitality. His work is diversified and is not only a fashion designer but also has business dealing with hotels, jewelry and interior designs.Digraj has made a mark with his classic tailored cut Indian wear, not just here but in and abroad as well. Digraj has collaborated and done trunk shows with prestigious fashion houses in abroad and India like Burberry, Berluti, Tods and Dior.Digraj gathered a lot of knowledge in the world of fashion by staying and travelling abroad. Thereafter he planned to start his own brand by the name of “Digraj Singh Shahpura” in 2015 and has not looked back since then.And he is dedicated towards bringing a new revolution in Indian fashion and putting it on to the international fashion map by bringing out designs that reflect his Rajasthani roots – Jodhpuri, Bandhgala, Achkan, which are his strengths.Furthermore, his designs bring across an aesthetic and regal tapestry of the fineries of Rajasthan that reflect the heritage and craft of the Indian state.Digraj Singh Shahpura is known for resurrecting fashion styles of the bygone era. His designs have made clothing patterns iconic and fashionable besides keeping intact the rich heritage of Rajasthan.
Prothom Alo illustration Covered in blood, a garments factory worker was brought by her friend and an auto-rickshaw driver to Mohammadpur police station in the capital on a night in March 2004. A gang-rape case was filed around 1:00am.Police seized the victim’s pyjamas, chemise, kameez and scarf, all blood-stained, as evidence of the incident.The case statement said the garments factory worker was returning home from work around 9:00pm. Two acquaintances came up, covered her mouth with their hands and dragged her to a slope on one side of the road. She was raped there by one of these men, along with two other strangers and the supervisor of a nearby building. They later left her in front of a shop.Police had detained the supervisor and accused him in the case. The two acquaintances were let off the hook as the police could not find their addresses. The other two unknown persons remained traceless.The trial has been underway at the women and children repression prevention tribunal-4 in Dhaka for 14 years. The accused supervisor has fled after being released on bail.There were 14 witnesses of the prosecution. The judge recorded the victim’s deposition in 2005. The deposition of four others, including a physician, was also recorded. But since April 2016, neither the police nor the public prosecutor (PP) could produce any witness before the court.The girl was treated at the one-stop crisis centre (OCC) of Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Later, a non-governmental organisation gave her shelter.She has been traumatised by the incident.A counsellor at the shelter centre said, for six months she didn’t talk to anyone and used to curl up in a dark corner for hours.Her family did not stand by her at that time.Senior researcher of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) Ruchira Tabassum Naved, who has been working for around 20 years on violence against women, said, “Rape victim, women or children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is something experienced by those who go to war or go through similar traumas.”It is very difficult for a victim to emerge from this situation on her own.“Filing a case or seeking justice is a huge task. The girl needs strong support to do something like that,” Ruchira said.In such cases family support is essential. But, the fear of disgracing the family, fear that no one would believe her, holds her back from seeking justice.Lawyer Maksuda Akhter, director, advocacy and lobby of central legal aid sub-committee of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, said, “The fear is real.”She said, negotiations in salish (out-of court settlements) are sought first. Many on the prosecution side-police officers, physicians, and prosecutors-share a common tendency to put the blame on the woman if she files a case.In another incident, another garments worker filed a gang-rape case with Uttara police station in Dhaka in 2003. The statement said two previously acquainted men told her they had found a good job for her. They took her to a house and raped her there.Medical reports said she was recently subjected to forceful sexual intercourse while chemical tests said there was presence of “human semen” on her pyjamas.The investigation officer of the case submitted a charge sheet against the accused. He, however, also said he has come to learn from “open and confidential investigations” that both the accused had a love affair with the woman, who was abandoned by her husband. Both of them had maintained “objectionable” relations with her.The judge of the women and children repression prevention tribunal-2 in Dhaka released the accused person after 12 years of starting the trial as police and PP failed to produce any witness including the victim.According to Prothom Alo findings, out of 5502 cases filed over the incidents of rape, murder after rape and gang rape in the past 15 years, the accused were punished in only 3 per cent of the cases.The police stations which witnessed the highest numbers of rape cases were located in the areas where the number of poorer people and garments workers is high.Prothom Alo scrutinised 52 of the cases. Most of the cases were filed by low income persons, either day labourers or housemaids or garments workers.Proving rape is a very complex process. Negligence in investigations makes the case proceedings lengthy and these lengthy cases hardly see any results.The findings also revealed that support from the family members of the victims decline due to increasing litigation costs, complexities, and social pressure. This forces the victims to seek out-of-court settlements (shalish). Also, the suffering of the victims escalates in course of time as they do not have enough knowledge of the litigation process.They lose confidence in the judicial process. The atmosphere at the police stations and courts and medical centres are also devastating to the victims, show the findings.From police stations to hospitalLawyer Maksuda, who has been in the profession for 30 years, said in the beginning of a rape case, the victims face suspicion. She said, police ask the victims if they went there on their own or if they were paid.She added that the victims were even branded as professional sex workers.Maksuda also said, “They are suspected of being involved in a love affair or have had sex with consent.”Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said a female and child-friendly desk has been opened at every metropolitan police station.“Female police run the desk. The DMP women support and investigation division has female employees, too,” he added.DMP’s additional deputy commissioner (Motijheel division) Monalisa Begum said, “We are trying to remove the adverse environment at the police stations. Women-friendly officers are also required.”“Also, supervision of investigation by senior police officers must be intensive,” she observed.The physicians examine the whole body, particularly the vaginal area for signs of forceful sexual intercourse. This requires the victim’s consent. But the whole process adds to the victim’s trauma.Male physicians mostly conduct the medical tests due to lack of female forensic experts. This also discourages most of the victims, the finding added.The so-called two-finger-test, which has recently been prohibited by the High Court, has been used to examine the vaginal canal, its laxity along with the signs of injury and the condition of the hymen.Sometimes the physicians write that the girl is habituated to sexual intercourse. According to the forensic experts, the language is unscientific and irrelevant to substantiate rape incidents.A report on a raped child reads ‘old ruptures of the hymen’. Such comments are used to brand the woman or child to be of generally immoral character.There are allegations of bribery to change forensic reports.Asked about the matter, forensic expert Sohel Mahmud said he found this allegation ‘hard to believe’.Humiliation at the courtThe public prosecutors (PPs) at the tribunals say, they cannot make the witnesses, either the victim or the plaintiff, to come before the court for testimonies. This is one of the main reasons for delay in trial and lack of conviction.Tribunal-1’s PP Md Abdul Bari said, “Judges ask court officials to make phone calls to the plaintiffs. We also contact them, but they don’t receive our phone calls.”Lawyer Maksuada said, “The victims need coordinated support along with the case proceedings, which is not available.”Prothom Alo findings also show that a victim of the much-talked-about Banani hotel rape case had to come to the court for three days before she could give her testimony. She was not heard by the court on the first two dates set for recording her statement. On one such date, the Prothom Alo reporter was present at the court. He overheard many snide remarks directed towards her, even by the court officials.Prohibiting the two-finger-test, the HC asked the judicial court to ensure that the victims are not asked humiliating questions over the rape.Defence lawyers also try to prove a victim of rape immoral since, according to section 155 (a) of Evidence Act, questions can be raised about the deposition of an immoral victim.The Supreme Court advocate Shahdeen Malik said rape offence has nothing to do with whether the girl is moral or immoral.The section actually has added to the harassment of the victim, he observes.The victim has to recount before the court how she was raped. The special law of 2000 to prevent repression of women and children dictates, if the victim wants or the court decides it appropriate, then it can hold a closed-door hearing or camera trial in rape cases.Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, an experienced lawyer in criminal cases, doubts the number of petitions ever filed over this.”The PP should ensure the closed door hearing. It is the PP who must save the plaintiff from obscene questions of the defence party. And, it is the judge’s responsibility to save the victim from being humiliated.”The security of the witness is also a crucial factor in case of the defence party’s strong political liaison and wealth.Haunted by fearThe girl was 16-17 years old in 2013. She lived with her parents in Dhaka and was training in tailoring. One of her friends took her to the river Buriganga river for a boat ride one day.Three men from another boat forcefully boarded their boat and took them to a solitary char (river island). They raped her after tying up her friend. Later, seven more men raped her in turns.The girl was bleeding and injured all over. One of the rapists took her to his home. The girl told her sister everything over phone. Her sister came and admitted her to hospital. She also filed a case with Keraniganj police station alleging gang rape.The physician got rape evidence. The detailed statement the victim presented before the magistrate was horrific.The police arrested seven perpetrators. Two of them came up with a statement to the magistrate that the girl’s friend had negotiated to hand over her to them for Tk 1,500 and the girl also had consent.In this case, 10 persons including the friend were indicted. The tribunal-1 has completed recording testimonies by four witnesses. But, neither the girl nor anyone in the family showed up in court. The lawyers said they were not attending in fear of the defendants.When the Prothom Alo correspondent went to the family’s rented quarters in Dhaka, one of the relatives of the landlord said, they left the place soon after the incident. No member of the family could be traced even at her village when the correspondent went there too.’False’ caseAminul Haque Ghani, who moved as a defence lawyer in a number of such cases, says, “Most of the rape cases currently running in the court are to harass people.”The special law of 2000 to prevent repression of women and children has given right to file a counter case. But, such examples are rare.The additional DIG of CID police Sheikh Rezaul Haider said he had seen some false cases filed due to land disputes in villages.The DMP deputy commissioner Monalisa Begum added that most of the rape cases were genuine. There were exceptions in the cases connected with ‘relationships’ and ‘rape’ she added. “These cases are complicated in character.”Relationships and promises of marriageThe Women and Children Repression Prevention Act-2000 has defined rape after the section 375 of the 1860 criminal procedure code. It states that, rape involves intercourse with someone other than one’s wife, and over the age of 16, by force or by deception.Intercourse with a girl under 16 years of age is always a rape. Though, it is different in case of a wife. If she is not under 13 the penal code does not have any scope to considering this as a rape.Many of the police officers and PPs have questions on the issue of cheating. This section is used for accusations of rape on making promises of marriage.PP Abdul Bari has seen many such cases being filed long after the crime. If the woman is an adult, she claims she was picked up, bluffed that marriage was on the cards, and then raped. As a long time elapses following the incident, no evidence is found.Bari said, “It becomes evident that they lived together willingly. The defendant then says, nothing happened by force.” So the case cannot stand and settlements take place.A mother, in a case filed in 2008, complained that a youth known to their family raped her daughter who was a garments factory worker, after promising to marry her. They rented a house in Kamrangichar of the capital. The mother filed a case after the girl had conceived.The girl’s mother and brother said the girl gave birth to a baby while the case was under trial. They settled the matter with the rapist as he agreed to marry her.As per the settlement, no one went to testify before the court. But the youth left the girl once the Tribunal-2 acquitted him from the case in 2016.Now he does not even bear the child’s maintenance costs.Reality of settlementPP Abdul Bari said, he has seen the instances of acquittal in cases even though there were evidence of gang rape of a minor girl by her “lover” and his “friends”.Most of the rape victims come from impoverished families. They settle the matter outside court. In some cases, they either testify that no such incident happened or they do not even come forward to testify.Human rights lawyers said the pressure to negotiate intensifies once the trial procedure delays. The families of victims face different kinds of pressure, to which they ultimately give in.Dhaka district and session judge court public prosecutor (PP) Khandaker Abdul Mannan said practice of such settlement should be stopped by any means.The state or prosecution should strictly oversee the matter so that rape cases are not settled outside the court. Even the court should declare the witness as hostile if s/he tries to testify in favour of the accused.Settlement benefits allInvestigating some cases, Prothom Alo finds that complainants are not the only ones seeking arbitration or settlement processes. And such arrangements are lucrative for the third parties as well.Advocate Maksuda said powerful quarters like local political leaders and elected members of union council generally lobby for the accused. Police and prosecutors remain active in favour of the accused in police stations and courts. They sometimes arrange marriage between the accused and victim. They are financially benefitted from the settlement.Tribunal-5 PP Ali Asghar claimed they remain in the darkness about the settlement.“Defendants think that if we inform the PP, s/he would intervene. And the plaintiff thinks PP would ask for money if s/he knows about the matter.”He, however, agrees sometimes three parties get involved in the settlement process.“If someone is dishonest, it is solely his personal choice,” he added.Former inspector general of police Nur Muhammad says, there is no scope of denying allegations of bribery or unlawful transactions for detouring a case. And both the parties, those who take and those who give, are responsible for this. He thinks strong supervision by senior police officials could improve the situation.Lawyer Shahdeen Malik believes the state can easily hasten the process of justice. But it does not bother meting out justice for those poor women.No one cares!A 12-year-old girl was raped in 1999. She lived with her aunt in a slum in Dhaka. One day a neighbour took her to some security guards of a building. Two guards raped her on the rooftop of the house. Then another man raped her.Police arrested four persons following the filing of a gang rape case with Gulshan police station.Tribunal-2 began the trial in 2002. But after 17 years, all the accused got acquitted as the police and PP failed to produce any witness. By the time, one accused died.What about the girl?Nobody knows as her details are not written anywhere. Her fading fingerprinted signature at the end of the case complaint remains to be the only proof that once she was there.*The report, originally published in Prothom Alo Bangla print edition, has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza, Toriqul Islam, Nusrat Nowrin and Galib Ashraf
French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on 19 September. Photo: ReutersFrance made a new plea on Monday for the United States to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and suggested its provisions expiring after a decade could be strengthened, as U.S. President Donald Trump again criticized the agreement as “deeply flawed.”The pact between Tehran and six world powers, which calls for Iran to curb its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions, is under threat as Trump must decide by Oct. 15 whether to certify Iran is keeping its end of the bargain.If Trump, who as recently as Thursday accused Iran of violating “the spirit” of the deal, chooses not to certify, the pact could unravel, possibly triggering a regional arms race.The Republican president, who has called the agreement struck under his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, “the worst deal ever negotiated,” made no secret of his views during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.“The president believes that the JCPOA is deeply flawed, and he did share his views with President Macron about how he believes the deal is flawed,” Brian Hook, director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department, told reporters. The pact is formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.“The president was very candid with him about what he thinks are the shortcomings. … He told him that it is under review and that they are taking a hard look at the Oct. 15th decision and more broadly how to fix the Iran deal,” Hook said.Hook said the two also discussed an integrated strategy against Iran that would take into account what he described as Iran’s support for terrorism, its ballistic missile program, its destabilization in the Middle East and other aggressions.Asked if he planned to stick with the pact, Trump earlier told reporters as he began a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday: “You’ll be seeing very soon.”Israeli officials have said changes Israel wants in the JCPOA include lengthening the 10-year freeze on Iran’s nuclear development program or even making that suspension permanent and destroying centrifuges rather than just halting their operation.The deal was negotiated with Iran by the United States, Russia, China, Britain, Germany and France. The six will meet with Iran at the ministerial level on Wednesday.The prospect of Washington reneging on the agreement has worried some of the U.S. allies that helped negotiate it, especially as the world grapples with another nuclear crisis, North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development.“It is essential to maintain it to avoid proliferation. In this period when we see the risks with North Korea, we must maintain this line,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters.“France will try to convince President Trump of the pertinence of this choice (keeping the accord), even if work can be done to complement the accord after 2025,” he said.A senior French official said Trump had not given Macron an indication on whether he had made up his mind during their Monday bilateral.However, the official said Macron had put on the table the prospect of new nuclear negotiations after 2025 during his bilateral with Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and warned him that Tehran should stop provoking the United States with its regional activities.“We feel the post 2025 subject is a red line, but our president put it on the table because it’s a concern and a legitimate request that we must make,” the official said. “2025 will arrive quickly and we have to be ready before Jan 1. 2025, so he asked that we think together how to work on this question.”If Trump does not certify that Iran is complying with the agreement, the U.S. Congress will have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions waived under the deal.Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned on Sunday that Tehran would react strongly to any “wrong move” by Washington on the nuclear deal.DIVIDING WORLD POWERSParis took one of the hardest lines against Tehran in the negotiations, but has been quick to restore trade ties and Macron has said repeatedly there is no alternative to the deal.French officials say Iran is respecting the JCPOA and that, were the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to say otherwise, a mechanism exists to reimpose sanctions.The IAEA is the body ensuring the accord is carried out, but the United States and Iran quarrelled over how Tehran’s nuclear activities should be policed at an IAEA meeting on Monday after a U.S. call last month for wider inspections.U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson argued on Friday that Washington must consider the full threat it says Iran poses to the Middle East when crafting its new policy toward Tehran.A senior French diplomat underlined that the nuclear deal was achieved in large part because it was not linked to all the other grievances the United States may have had with Iran.With Europeans not on the same page as the Trump administration, Iranian officials say they have an opportunity to divide the P5+1 group that negotiated the deal with Iran.A senior Iranian diplomat and a former nuclear negotiator said he believed the Europeans had no intention of following Trump’s overtly aggressive Iran policy.“They are wise. Look at the region. Crisis everywhere. From Iraq to Lebanon. Iran is a reliable regional partner for Europe, not only a trade partner but a political one as well,” the diplomat said.“European powers have been committed to the deal. The IAEA has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s commitment to the deal. Trump’s insistence on his hostile policy towards Iran will further deepen the gap among the P5+1 countries,” the diplomat said.
Share This! Share This! We are not all the same, and in our difference we are divine August 30, 2019 Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,About the authorView All Posts TagsBaltic states Christianity Estonia homepage featured Latvia Lithuania neopaganism Soviet Union Top Story,You may also like Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email News Share This! Catholicism As Amazon burns, Vatican prepares for summit on region’s faith and sustainabilit … August 30, 2019 Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,SAMMA, Estonia (RNS) — In the middle of a dense forest in northern Estonia, where the closest village has a population of 32, only a wooden sign with the word “HIIS” clumsily daubed in green indicates anything unusual in the vicinity.“Hiis” means “sacred grove” in Estonian. Past another wooden board with a runic symbol carved on it — it is customary to knock on this board — is a green clearing where visitors have tied ribbons around trees and placed eggs at their bases as a gift and left the dark remnants of a fire.“All that is brought there has to be eaten there or burned in the ritual fire,” said 28-year-old Tõnu Rehela, who has been a member of Estonia’s nature-oriented, neopagan Maausk community since he was 16. “Through the fire, the gods eat. Through the holy tree, the gods drink.”The board at the entrance to Tammealuse Hiis, a sacred grove in the forest near Samma, Estonia, on May 13, 2019. RNS photo by Aliide NaylorWhile pagan and folk religions may seem archaic to the wider world, they are thriving across the Baltic states. The Maausk community, along with Estonia’s other prominent neopagan group, the Taaraists, tripled in size from 2001 to 2011, the latest figures available from the national census. Meanwhile, a 2014 study from the University of Tartu indicated that 61% of Estonians believed that neopaganism was the “true” religion of Estonia.There is a similar situation in both Latvia and Lithuania.The increase in popularity is “mainly young people,” said Inija Trinkūnienė, the high priestess known as the “Krive” of Lithuania’s Romuva community.“More and more people are asking for us to (perform) wedding ceremonies. … They want to have their children blessed by the ancient traditions,” she said, adding this is true even of people who aren’t officially in the community. “People more and more are becoming aware of what they really are.”In 2001, only 1,200 people identified as Romuva, but, by 2011, about 5,100 did, according to online Baltic news portal Delfi.While Trinkūnienė performs rituals for births, marriages and deaths, they are still not acknowledged by the government. Official debates over their official recognition started in May 2018.People gather at the Lokstene Shrine, where Latvian neopagans hold ceremonies and annual celebrations, on May 6, 2017, in Pļaviņas Municipality, Latvia. RNS photo by Uģis Nastevičs“Wedding ceremonies are still not recognized by the state, but we are waiting for Parliament to make their final decision,” she said. “According to the law of religions in Lithuania — 25 years (after) our official registration, we can apply for getting a higher status.”Lithuania was the last nation in Europe to officially Christianize (1387), but it took much longer for the religion to take root. Under the Soviet Union, which occupied the Baltics after World War II until 1991, the native religions were suppressed along with nationalist sentiment.The Baltic states, lower right, on the western edge of Russia. Map courtesy of Creative CommonsStill, these religions lingered partly because fostering a connection to the land, old languages, old gods and tradition was a way of preserving a form of national identity and local memory in the face of an occupying power.“It was completely banned,” said Aldis Pūtelis, a researcher at the University of Latvia’s Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art. “It was the reaction to the perceived danger to perceived Latvianness. This whole movement was started as another way of strengthening it, and it was really popular among the exiled Latvians. Its main purpose was to strengthen the feeling of Latvian-ness.”The old religions also offered more than Christianity, according to proponents. “People say they seek such spirituality that is not available in other religions and a way of fostering Latvianness,” said Uģis Nastevičs, a spokesperson for Latvia’s Dievturība. “The community has been gradually growing over the last 10 years. All age groups are represented.”Trinkūnienė said that when her husband celebrated the summer solstice festival in 1967, lighting sacred fires and praying to Lithuanian gods and goddesses, he was soon expelled from university, lost his job and was unable to find regular work until the beginning of the 1990s, when the struggle for independence gained momentum.Meanwhile, both Lithuania’s Romuva and Latvia’s Dievturība communities have thrived among those in exile from the war and Soviet occupation. Today, the Dievturība have a branch in Wisconsin and other places across North America, according to the organization, while the Romuva community is active in Indiana, among other places.Ausma Spalviņa, left, offers puzuri (straw octahedrons that symbolize the Universe) during a ceremony in the Lokstene Shrine on May 6, 2017, in Pļaviņas Municipality, Latvia. RNS photo by Uģis NastevičsThe pagan religions have been spurred especially by a growing awareness of climate change and the rise of conservation movements that tap into a deep local connection to nature and a desire to protect sacred spaces.“In Lithuania there is a strong movement against deforestation,” said Trinkūnienė.Outside Tammealuse Hiis, the sacred grove in the Estonian forest, a sign states that as late as the 1930s people would converge on the area to meet relatives, play music and dance. “The long tradition of get-togethers died during World War II, but the power of the sacred site continued,” wrote local author Ahto Kaasik, a folklore researcher, director of the Center of Natural Sacred Sites at the University of Tartu and key figure in the movement on the sign.Rehela often celebrates Munadepüha, a folk equivalent of Easter, at the grove. During this event his community holds rituals where members strike knives on axes to make bell-like noises, and the ritual leader gives a speech to the old gods and their forefathers.“Sometimes we hear a sign during the rites,” he added. “Once a dog came in and knocked over a milk flask. … Perhaps the gods didn’t want us to drink milk on this day, or they wanted to drink it themselves.” Aliide Naylor,Load Comments,With anti-Semitism on the rise, U.K. begins formal inquiry into Labour Party’s a … Share This! Columns • Opinion • Simran Jeet Singh: Articles of Faith Aliide Naylor By: Aliide Naylor Lutheran student pastor deported amid protests Instagram apostasy stirs controversy over Christian ‘influencers’ August 30, 2019 By: Aliide Naylor By: Aliide Naylor Share This! Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email