Corentyne fire leaves farmer homeless

first_imgA fire, believed to be of electrical origin, completely destroyed a Port Mourant, Corentyne home on Wednesday.Deodat Tasso, 46, a cash crop farmer, told this publication that he was not at home when the fire started.The Port Mourant, Corentyne home on fireAccording to the farmer, he was at his farm situated about half a mile from his home all day and upon his return at about 16:00h, there was a blackout in the community. Tasso said he did not venture into his house, but stayed downstairs and was separating vegetables he brought, in which a vendor wanted to purchase from him. He said that he then left and went to a nearby shop when he received a message saying that his house was on fire. According to Tasso, he was away from the building for about ten minutes when he received the message.“When I go back home, I see fire inside the whole house. I run and try to pull some of the pumpkin that I had under the house but the heat was too much,” he said.Villagers tried to form a bucket brigade when smoke was seen coming from inside of the building but to no avail. The farmer was unable to save anything from his home. Tasso has been living at the Port Mourant house for more than 30 years.Meanwhile, one fire truck from Rose Hall Town Fire Service arrived at the scene and fire fighters were able to prevent the blaze from spreading to nearby buildings.last_img read more

More nominations today for seat on Fort Nelson City Council

first_imgThe new additions include Councillor Todd Osbourne and Lorraine Gerwing.These two are being added to the list that already includes Councillor Laurie Dolan and Nathan Bauder.Meanwhile, Mayor Bill Streeper is being challenged for his position by Councillor Kimberly Eglinski.- Advertisement -Stay up-to-date with on the latest developments with energeticcity-beta.mystagingwebsite.com.last_img

You Can’t Have a Slow Day

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now How is it possible to have a slow day? How can you have a day where there’s very little to do, one in which you don’t get much done?The very idea that one can have a slow day tells you more about the person that makes that statement than they might imagine. What it suggests is that they believe they need to do the work that shows up as it shows up. They are doing work in real time. That work probably shows up in their email inbox. This is an indication that the person who had a “slow day” is reactive, passively waiting for tasks to appear so that they can complete them. After completing tasks, they wait for another to present them with work to do.Having a slow day is an indication that tasks are be being assigned by someone else. The work isn’t something they have decided to do because it is important, meaningful work.If one were to be proactive, intentional, taking control of their day, it would be impossible to have a slow day. If you are dictating the tempo, then that pace is going to be whatever you set. If you are designing the work that needs to be done, committing to doing it in 60 to 90-minute blocks, and giving your full focus and attention to those tasks that move the needle, you cannot have a slow day. Instead you have a productive day. You have a day where you produce results that matter. You create outcomes that, were you to look at a highlight reel from the week, would make you look like a superstar.Having a slow day isn’t something that need ever happen to you. It is a choice you make. You can be intentional and productive, or you can be something less than those things.last_img read more

A Tiny Dose of Poison Every Day

first_imgPeople who are negative don’t know they’re negative. They also don’t know how they were infected with cynicism, scarcity, negativity, and other poor and disempowering beliefs. Negativity doesn’t turn on all at once or very quickly. It builds up little by little, transforming those who are infected over time.At the dinner table, someone describes “others” as being responsible for all that is wrong with the world. “Others” are the cause of bad things. The world is split into good ones and bad ones, our side and their side. Soon, that belief, never chosen is a tiny drop of poison that clouds the lens through which the infected sees their world.The television and the internet provide a constant flow of bad news designed to provoke attention and clicks. Stories are sensationalized to provoke feelings, and to split people into “sides.” Those who are provoked spit vitriol at those who see things different, arguing over events, even though they don’t benefit from the event, nor are they harmed. The poison comes in through the eyes and ears, building up over time.At work, those who are infected are subversive, whispering in the ears of those who struggling, absolving them of responsibility for their problems and blaming “them.” The leadership team. The clients. The competitors. The challenges their operations team never seems to outrun.And then there are the complainers who provide a never ending stream of whining and bellyaching. They wish things were different, better even, but they never lift a finger to make anything better. A drip of venom from the tongue unintentionally transferred to those who unknowingly accept something toxic.This poison tastes sweet to those who want desperately to believe that they are not the ones responsible for their results. A tiny does of poison over the course of days, and weeks, and month, and years, and those who allow it to seep in through their ears are fully infected—and most likely, carriers.After all of this poison, is it any wonder that those who have been taken in so much negativity see everything as negative? Is it any wonder they assume bad intentions from anyone and everyone? How could they possibly not blame “others” for their circumstances, for the things that are wrong, for the cause of their suffering?To avoid taking in this poison, you must remain vigilant, recognizing and eliminating the sources. When you encounter the sources in your personal life, you have to protect yourself by working to beat back their infection with your positive, optimistic demeanor and disposition.You do not have to take in a small of dose of poison every day. You can inoculate yourself by taking in so much of what is positive that you build an immunity to that which would harm you. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Playing Billy Vunipola against USA is not a risk, insists Eddie Jones

first_imgShare on WhatsApp Rugby World Cup Nick Evans The aerial battle will be the key to unlocking defences in World Cup The day after England’s scratchy victory over Tonga, Ludlam explained how the players had barely turned their attentions to the USA and that it would be primarily done in Wednesday’s training session.Jones, though, has been preparing for this match for some time. Against Japan last November he curtailed his side’s preparation to replicate this four-day turnaround and made 11 changes to his starting XV. On Tuesday the players went out for lunch to sample Kobe’s famous beef; in the week leading up to Japan, Jones arranged a sushi night at the team hotel.Against Japan, however, England were dreadful in the first half, run ragged by the fleet-footed Brave Blossoms with Owen Farrell having to come on at half-time to turn the tide. It is no surprise then that Farrell is again on the bench, just in case. Indeed, Jones was so displeased with that first half that it ended, or at least put on hold, a few international careers – none of Danny Care, Alex Lozowski or Zach Mercer has played for England since. “We could have the same problems,” said the head coach. “It’s difficult having a quick turnaround. There’s no quick solution to it but we feel it’s maybe more psychological than physical.”Only three players who started against Japan are due to line up against the USA but, if that November afternoon made Jones rip up his plans in terms of personnel, it came together again last month. Just as the side who beat Tonga contained 13 of the team who thrashed Ireland in the warm-up series, so the XV named on Tuesday has 12 survivors from the team picked to face Wales in Cardiff. Maybe that is why Jones was so happy after that match despite the defeat. They may have narrowly lost but there was no going off script. England rugby union team Was this helpful? England team to face USAElliot Daly; Ruaridh McConnochie, Jonathan Joseph, Piers Francis, Joe Cokanasiga; George Ford (capt), Willi Heinz, Joe Marler, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, Tom Curry, Lewis Ludlam, Billy Vunipola Replacements Jack Singleton, Ellis Genge, Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes, Mark Wilson, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, Anthony Watson  Show Share on LinkedIn Eddie Jones bristled at the suggestion he is taking a risk by on Tuesday naming Billy Vunipola to start for the second time in five days against the USA, and issuing a stark warning to the 10 new faces in his England side. Vunipola is one of five players who will keep their place in the starting lineup for England’s second World Cup match on Thursday but it is those incoming at the forefront of Jones’s mind.This will be Vunipola’s 11th successive appearance for England – he was the only player to start all four warm‑up matches – but, given his recent injury history, concerns would seem justified. Before the first of those 11 games he managed two Tests in two years and in the second of those he broke his arm for the second time. Jones, though, is adamant “the best way to keep him fit is to play him”. Moreover Mark Wilson is not quite ready to start, so the head coach’s options at No 8 are limited.“I’ve got to pick 23 so by definition there has to be players backing up,” said Jones. “So what do you want me to do, go in with less players?”Vunipola is joined in backing up by George Ford, who captains the side, Tom Curry, who Jones says needs more experience at blindside flanker, Elliot Daly and Joe Marler. There is no Henry Slade because of his knee injury, though Jones claimed he could have played if needed, but Joe Cokanasiga and Ruaridh McConnochie come into the side on the wings and Dan Cole, who moves joint-third on the list of England’s record appearance holders, will also start, as will Lewis Ludlam. Share via Email The Breakdown: sign up and get our weekly rugby union email. Read more Rugby union Share on Facebook Topics Since you’re here… … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Reuse this content Rugby World Cup 2019 Hide Thank you for your feedback. Jones recalled on Tuesday a pool match when working with South Africa in 2007 against Tonga. The Springboks squeezed to a 30-25 victory en route to lifting the trophy but Jones saw a number of fringe players putting personal gain before the collective. “That’s the danger for us,” the England head coach said. “It can happen in the second or the third game, where players who might think it’s their only game of the World Cup go out there and they try to play for themselves rather than play for the team.”That may go some way to explaining why Marler has retained his place in the side. It is not hard to imagine him and Cole as the enforcers within the squad. They sit at the back of the England team bus and no doubt keep the youngsters in line. “This squad is quite young, so having those older two props is quite important,” Jones said.It also emphasises the importance of Ford on Thursday. He was captain against Japan – a tough afternoon for him, says Jones – but he has been a part of all but one of Jones’s 46 matchday Test squads. “It could be easy to try and be impressive and try to stand out individually,” Ford said.“I think we’ll be fine but it’s something we’ve got to keep our eye on in the next 24-48 hours. In a funny sort of way when you’ve got only three or four days you get right down to the nitty gritty of the plan.” Support The Guardian Share on Pinterest Quick guide England team to face USA Share on Twitter Share on Messengerlast_img read more

A HuffPo for HipHop

first_imgElliott Wilson, the former editor of XXL, the Source and others, is prepping the launch of Rap Radar, a Web site he says he’d like to see become the Huffington Post of hip-hop, a platform artists and producers can use to sound off on music, politics and culture. Wilson has a reputation for being outspoken. And given his reported tendency toward rants, when I spoke to Wilson yesterday, I found him to be surprisingly level-headed about everything, from the state of print (“If you’re a magazine, in this climate, you have to prove your value”) to the Web (“in the climate we’re in, launching this way makes the most sense”) to business (“creative people have to put their business hats on now … [the recession] is forcing all of us to grow up”) to marketing (“I’ve been doing the legwork on Facebook and Twitter”), branding (“we’ll do Rap Radar magazine, Rap Radar socks, lunch boxes, whatever”) and need for community (“Right now, the goal is to build a brand”).Once the ad-supported site is up and running, Wilson plans to invite artists and producers to post entries, Huffington Post-style. “If Jay-Z wants to express his feelings about Obama, there’s not really a forum where he can do that right now.” Whether or not he’s successful remains to be seen. (After all, if a guy like Jay-Z wanted to sound off on Obama, he could blog for the Huffington Post; if he wanted to renew his beef with Nas, he could post it on his own blog—as Kanye West has proven, if you blog enough, people will find you, wherever you are.)But he seems to have the right approach: Build your brand online first, and if there’s enough interest and a business rationale, launch a print product later.Read the full story here …last_img read more

People on the Move 12011

first_imgElizabeth Tighe was named to the new position of vice president of marketing and business development, lifestyle communities, for Reader’s Digest Association. She will lead a centralized marketing team for Every Day With Rachel Ray, the Taste of Home Media Group, The Family Handyman, freshHOME, the Market Intelligence Group and the Integrated Marketing Team. She previously served as vice president of marketing at Fairchild.Energy Central, an online hub for the energy industry, tapped three former Summit Business Media executives for new roles. Joseph Haddock, formerly director of e-media business development at Summit, joins Energy Central as chief digital officer. Betsy Kominksy, who headed up the Life/Health/Benefits division as vp/group publisher at Summit, will become senior vice president of media at Energy Central. Jennifer La Flam, former publisher of Senior Market Advisor, becomes vice president of sales, marketing and services.Jay Fielden, former editor of Men’s Vogue, takes over as editor-in-chief of Town & Country. He replaces Stephen Drucker.ALM named Kevin Iredell as vice president, marketing. He will manage the corporate marketing, brand team and creative department. Iredell joined ALM in 2006 as director of marketing for national publications and in 2009 was promoted to head of the Legal Intelligence business unit. Kevin Riley was appointed to associate publisher for Climbing and Urban Climber. He served as advertising sales manager for the two magazines since 2007.Dr. Dobb’s named Andrew Binstock executive editor. He most recently was a columnist for SD Times.last_img read more

HBOs chief the force behind Game of Thrones to step down

first_imgHBO chief executive Richard Plepler, here with Big Little Lies stars Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, oversaw HBO’s rise as an awards juggernaut.  Getty Images Richard Plepler, the longtime head of HBO who ushered the network to newfound critical and popular dominance with hits like Game of Thrones, is stepping down.  Plepler, whose departure was announced Thursday, oversaw HBO’s rise to dominate television awards ceremonies and audience ratings, most recently with blockbuster, critically praised hits like Game of Thrones. He also spearheaded HBO as one of the pioneers in TVs transition to direct-to-consumer streaming subscriptions. HBO was one of the first traditional networks to make its programming available online to people who subscribed directly with its app, rather than requiring a regular pay-TV subscription. The announcement comes the same week a court decision lifted the final question marks holding back AT&T from exerting its full control over HBO. AT&T agreed to take over HBO’s parent, Time Warner, more than two years ago in an $85 billion deal. But the Department of Justice took the companies to court, hoping to block the merger and, later, appealing to potentially unwind it. The US government lost its appeal Tuesday.”Hard as it is to think about leaving the company I love, and the people I love in it, it is the right time for me to do so,” Plepler said in a memo to employees. John Stankey, a veteran AT&T executive who was appointed to lead WarnerMedia last year (becoming Plepler’s boss), called him “one of the most successful executives in our industry.””I have been fortunate to have his support over the last months,” Stankey said in statement.  Share your voice 0 Tags Post a comment TV and Movies Digital Media Time Warner Game of Thrones HBO AT&T Netflixlast_img read more

Now we have to watch out for zombie snakes Oh great

first_img 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/CNETcenter_img 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 Amazonlast_img read more

Rape victims struggle to seek justice

first_imgProthom 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 Ashraflast_img read more