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Colombian Journalist Jineth Bedoya Honoured with Anna Politkovskaya Award for Tackling Taboos on Wartime Rape
BOGOTA, October 6, 2016: When journalist Jineth Bedoya went to Bogota’s maximum-security prison 16 years ago to interview an infamous paramilitary warlord, little did she know the visit would mark her life and convert her into a leading rights activist.
Bedoya never made it to the interview but instead was kidnapped, gang-raped, tortured and left on the side of a road.
She kept quiet for years but in 2009 broke her silence and began campaigning against the taboos and stigma suffered by victims of sexual violence, which was used as a weapon by all sides in Colombia’s 52-year-war.
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For her activism, Bedoya was awarded on Thursday the annual Reach All Women in WAR (RAW in WAR) Anna Politkovskaya Award.
“To defend the truth is one of the most difficult missions anyone could undertake, and its price can even be that person’s life,” Bedoya said in a statement. The award is named for a Russian investigative reporter shot dead in 2006.
“For her, and for thousands and thousands of women who gave their last breath for their work, we cannot fail. We cannot falter,” said Bedoya, 42, who is deputy editor at Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper.
Bedoya has become the public face for women in Colombia seeking justice in cases of sexual violence crimes. Nearly 16,300 Colombians, most of them women and girls, have been victims of rape and sexual violence, government data shows.
‘Embodiment of bravery’
“Jineth is the embodiment of bravery. As a reporter, she suffered a brutal attack and abduction for exposing atrocities committed by paramilitaries,” said Jimena Sanchez-Garzoli, Colombia rights advocate at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).
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“She then transformed her personal pain into a beacon of light for all women who have suffered abuse at the hands of illegal armed groups,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Despite receiving death threats, Bedoya started a campaign “It’s not time to be silent” on behalf of women and girls raped during Colombia’s conflict.
A peace accord to end the conflict, signed between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), is in limbo after being narrowly rejected by voters as too lenient on the rebels in a referendum Sunday.
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Under the accord, both sides had pledged to ensure perpetrators of sexual violence would not be eligible for amnesty.
About 98 percent of rapes have gone unpunished, according to Bedoya.
But in a rare conviction this year, two paramilitary fighters were sentenced for Bedoya’s kidnapping, torture and rape.
RAW in WAR
The award marks the tenth anniversary of the killing of Politkovskaya, an investigative reporter who uncovered state corruption and rights abuses, especially in Chechnya.
She was killed in the lobby of her Moscow apartment block on Oct. 7, 2006, at age 48.
“The bullets that took her life are the same that ended the life of over 200,000 Colombians. The business of war has not only contaminated the souls of those who profit from it, but it has also made our society hardened and intolerant,” Bedoya said.
RAW in WAR, a London-based non-governmental organization supporting women human rights defenders and victims of war, also honored Russian rights activist Valentina Cherevatenko, who provides legal and psychological help to civilians affected by violence in the North Caucasus, Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine. (VOA)
The Centre will launch a pilot project on the use of indigenously manufactured drones for delivering medicines in the undulating landscape of Jammu and surrounding areas from Saturday with a focus on vaccines delivery initially. "This is going to be a pilot project for the area. The drone is developed and manufactured entirely by our scientists," Union Minister for Science & Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh told mediapersons. Singh said he himself will be launching the project at Jammu.
The drone is developed by the scientists at Bengaluru's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a constituent of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an autonomous Society that is headed by the Prime Minister. For now, the delivery would be limited to Covid vaccines and once successful, it would be expanded to be used for regular delivery of medicines in the remote, hilly areas.
The drone is developed by the scientists at Bengaluru's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). | Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash
Jammu and surrounding areas are sensitive in terms of the strategic importance. Some months ago, there was an attack on an Army installation using drones. Will the 'drones for vaccines' be permitted in such a case? Allaying fears, a top official from the Ministry of S&T said, "The drones would be deployed by authorised agencies such as hospitals, not anybody can use it, nor would any random person be permitted to use it."
NAL has called the drone as 'Octacopter' and it can fly at an operational altitude of 500 m AGL and at maximum flying speed of 36 kmph. It can be used for a variety of BVLOS applications for last mile delivery like medicines, vaccines, food, postal packets, Human organs (such as heart for heart transplantation) etc. NAL Octacopter is integrated with a powerful on-board embedded computer and latest generation sensors for versatile applications like agricultural pesticide spraying, crop monitoring, mining survey, magnetic geo survey mapping etc., S&T officials had said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Jammu, Vaccines, Medicines, Deliver, Drones, Centre
Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan shares how he feels when people compare him with his father Amitabh Bachchan on the singing reality show 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa'. He also requests contestant Rajshree Bag to sing a track 'Bahon Mein Chale Aao' featuring his mother Jaya Bachchan.
Abhishek said after looking at the performance of Rajshree, who is often compared with Lata Mangeshkar on the show, that she reminds him of being compared with his father. "Rajshree, whenever I have got the chance to watch the show, I've seen people compare you to Lata didi. It actually reminded me about how people compare me with my father and ask me how I feel about it."
According to him Amitabh Bachchan is a great actor in the industry and this is what he says to everyone making these comparisons. "My answer to them is that there's no greater actor in this film industry than Amitabh Bachchan and if I'm being compared to him, I am sure I must have done something good."
"Similarly, your voice has a different kind of magic like Lata ji and that's why people are comparing your voice with her. I feel you should always take this as a compliment," he concluded. 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa' airs on Saturday and Sunday on Zee TV. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Abhishek Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan, reality show, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Rajshree Bag
Winters in India have always beckoned for that hot, steaming bowl of tomato and pepper rasam or the mellow, millet based Raab. Certain dishes like sarson ka saag, undhiyu, nimona pulao are winter specialites in the country. Seasonal food has always been an Indian speciality -- we switch our choice in fruits, vegetables, sometimes even grains with the onset of different season. The preference of using specific ingredients during certain climates is visible in our sweets as well. It's common to find local and traditional delicacies made of jaggery, instead of sugar during the winters. Case in point -- the Nolen Gur Rasgulla, a speciality made in Odisha and West Bengal between November to February.
Celebrity chef, Sanjeev Kapoor, strongly advocates this need of eating seasonal produce. He says, "The beauty of our food is in our seasonal usage of fruits and vegetables. If you realise, Gajar ka halwa is made aplenty during winters as this is the season when beautiful red carrots hit the market or mango pickle is made during summer, thanks to its availability. Despite people and sometimes, even me, suggesting that we should eat fresh as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables, we do not know what chemicals are sprayed on them to keep them safe while they are growing. When this produce hits the market, there isn't a certifying agency like the FSSAI that will help people understand what vegetables and fruits are free of pesticides and germs and which ones don't. Hence, the onus lies on us to make them safe for consumption. ITC's Nimwash is a good solution."
When it comes to winters, the Chef recommends eating these fruit and vegetables:
* Purple Mogri -- Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country. But you can spot them during the winters in local markets in northern India where women pick them up to make raitas, curries and stir fries. Rich in magnesium, calcium and copper, the vegetable is known to aid people from digestive problems.
Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country, but you can spot them during the winters | Pixabay
* Sweet Potato -- A re-discovered favourite, Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. With its diverse addition in burgers, chips and even chat, the root vegetable is filled with nutrients such as fibres and vitamins.
Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. | Wikimedia Commons
* Avarekalu -- Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. Bangalore is famed for its Averakalu mela during the winter months, where you can find these beans in dosas, Pani puri and even Jalebis! Thronged by crowds from all over the city, the food fest is a gourmand's delight.
Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. | Wikimedia Commons
* Amla -- The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. High in Vitamin C, it is known to be immunity building and extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. There are multiple ways to eat Amla -- it is pickled, made into a fruit preserve called as Murraba or even eaten by sprinkling salt over it.
The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. | Pixabay
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: winter, Sanjeev Kapoor, chef, Indian gooseberry, Sweet Potato, Radish pods