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Ban on India’s daughter: Why UK and the rest of the world need to clean up their dirt first

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Rape case (1)

By Harshmeet Singh

Global headlines have centred around India in the past one week, owing to the Government’s ban on BBC documentary, India’s Daughter. Significantly, majority of foreign media has merrily bashed the Indian society by concluding that most Indian men agree to what Mukesh Singh (one of the convicts of the Nirbhaya gang rape case) and his lawyers think about women.

Is the International reaction called for?

One of the most scathing attacks on Indian men came from Kuwait Times which ran a story titled ‘Rapist’s views reflect those of many in India – Indian men ‘blame women for rape’. For Kuwait, a country famous for minimal women rights, a country with no laws against sexual harassment or domestic violence, such comments do not stand true to its self made image.

How do the developed nations fare?

7th March 2015, Leeds – ‘An 18 year old woman raped and ‘left of dead’ in Leeds assault’

8th March 2015, Oxfordshire – The defence lawyer of the gang of five men accused of subjecting six schoolgirls to ‘horrific’ sexual abuse said that the girls came forward because ‘it’s better to be a victim than a slag’.

A number of similar stories make headlines in national UK newspapers every single day. According to credible factual data, developed countries make up for majority of the rape cases recorded against women around the world. 1 in every 6 women faces a rape attempt in the perennial world power, USA. In UK, a government report released in 2013 stated that 1 in 5 women above the age of 16 was subjected to some form of sexual abuse.

Is India alone?

The menace of rape and violence against women exists worldwide and making India the lone scapegoat isn’t going to solve the problem. In Mexico, on an average, six women are murdered each day. So despicable is Mexico’s situation that the UN termed it as ‘femicide’ in the country. In 2006, a 14-year-old Iraqi girl was raped and killed by five U.S. soldiers near Al-Mahmudiyah town, Iraq. To destroy any evidence, she was shot in her head and the soldiers set the lower part of her body on fire. Known as the country exhibiting the best ‘gender equality’ stats in the world, Sweden holds the dubious distinction of recording the highest number of rape cases in Europe. The ‘sick’ thinking of men behind such crimes exists everywhere in the world, including India.

Can India get away?

India can’t breathe easy by terming it as a one-off incident and arguing that similar cases happen at other places too. ‘India’s daughter’ was much more than just about another rape case in the country. If it included the rapist’s point of view, it also brought forth the unprecedented unity shown by the youth across the country to come out on the streets and demand their rights. Never before had the world witnessed so many people on the streets without a single leader, all protesting peacefully, demanding what is fundamentally theirs, a right to a dignified life.

The rising emotions of people in India are entirely justified. The thought of the juvenile convict (said to be the most violent) getting released in December this year is in itself scary. It certainly calls for revamping of criminal laws in the country. The five convicts are a part of the same society where our next generation will grow. Isn’t worth asking ourselves, where did we go wrong.

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Students Get Amazon Alexa – Electronic Voice-Controlled Assistants in University Campus Housing

It is a good idea for students to get as much experience as possible with the voice assistants to improve their development skills and prepare for future jobs.

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The Alexa Echo Dot devices include the official Saint Louis University logo and are equipped with specific skills to provide information on local events and campus life. VOA
The Alexa Echo Dot devices include the official Saint Louis University logo and are equipped with specific skills to provide information on local events and campus life. VOA

One American university is putting Amazon-electronic voice-controlled assistants in every student housing room on campus.

Saint Louis University recently announced it will equip every student living space with Amazon’s Alexa system. The school in St. Louis, Missouri, will place about 2,300 Echo Dot “smart” devices in all student dorms and other university housing.

Officials said the university will be the first in the world to put the devices in every student living space. The devices and the Alexa service are being provided at no costs to students.

The Amazon Echo is a speaker with the ability to listen and “talk” to users and can perform some operations. The Alexa assistant competes with similar systems made by Google and Apple.

Devices linked to the systems have become increasingly popular in homes in recent years. They can be used for things like looking up information, playing music, ordering food or buying things on the internet. The devices can also complete actions in the home. These include turning lights on and off, and controlling systems for heating and cooling and security.

Amazon calls these different tasks Alexa can perform “skills.”

Amazon said in a website post that Saint Louis University chose the Alexa system after carrying out a test program. The program involved the Echo Dot and a device from a competing company. It said the students had a better reaction to the Alexa system.

The Echo Dots will include a special skill developed especially for Saint Louis University. It will provide information and answer questions about local school activities and campus life.

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In this March 2, 2016, file photo, David Limp, Amazon Senior Vice President of Devices, pushes down on an Echo Dot in San Francisco. VOA

Next year, the university plans to add more personalized skills, such as providing information about classes and grades.

The university said it did not increase student tuition to pay for the project. Instead, officials said, it was financed through the school’s general fund, as well as partnerships with Amazon and n-Powered. The company, based in Los Angeles, California, helped develop the parts of the system that are related to Saint Louis University.

David Hakanson is Saint Louis University’s vice president and chief information officer. In announcing the project, he said it will fit well with students who are “highly driven to achieve success in and out of the classroom.”

He added: “Every minute we can save our students from having to search for the information they need online is another minute that they can spend focused on what matters most: their education.”

While the devices are being placed in every university housing space, students do not have to use them. For those wishing not to take part, the school suggests students just remove the devices from their rooms and put them away in a safe place.

Other universities have also experimented with voice-controlled assistants in student living areas.

A year ago, Arizona State University announced a program that provided Echo Dot devices to a special housing area for engineering students. In the program, all engineering students moving into the special housing community were given the choice of receiving an Echo Dot if they wanted one.

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Bhavik Patel, a mechanical engineering senior and peer mentor at Arizona State’s community housing center Tooker House, demonstrates use of an Amazon Echo Dot while working on formulas. VOA

As is the case at Saint Louis University, Arizona State students are able to use the system to get the latest information on university programs and events. However, the Arizona students also have the chance to sign up for classes that teach subjects related specifically to creating new uses for Alexa devices.

Octavio Heredia is a director with Arizona State’s Fulton Schools of Engineering. He said he thinks it is a good idea for students to get as much experience as possible with the voice assistants to improve their development skills and prepare for future jobs.

Also Read: Google Releases ‘Go Edition of Android 9 Pie’

“Once they are familiar with the devices, they are going to want to further develop their own skills and begin integrating that technology – the hardware and the skills – into other projects,” he said. (VOA)