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Hundreds Of Afghan Civilians Were Displaced Due To IS

Families in the province left their houses to escape violence from militants.

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Afghanistan
Afghan National Army troops prepare for an operation against insurgents in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, Nov. 28, 2017. voa

In the last few weeks, at least 160 families have been displaced in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province by Islamic State attacks and fighting between U.S.-backed Afghan government forces and various militant groups.

More than 400 families have been displaced in the province in the past 10 months.

Families in the province say they left their houses to escape violence from militants.

“It’s been a few days that the IS militants have re-emerged, and a new round of firefighting has started. We had no choice but to seek refuge in deserts, under the government-controlled areas,” Khan Mohammad, a displaced man, told VOA.

Two hundred and fifty of the displaced families are from Nangarhar’s restive Pachir Wa Agam district where IS militants are active and fighting Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents over territory control.

IS militants attacked the Pachir Wa Agam district, destroyed many homes and captured more than two dozen local men last December, according to Afghan officials.

The district came under heavy airstrikes when the U.S. entered Afghanistan in pursuit of al-Qaida and the Taliban beginning in late 2001.

Attaullah Khogyani, the governor of Nangarhar’s spokesperson, downplayed the IS threat but confirmed a recent displacement of 160 families within Deh Bala district of the province.

“The reasons for displacement of these families are the current special military operation against IS militants,” he added.

An internally displaced Afghan woman who fled from recent conflict cooks bread outside a shelter in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, Nov. 28, 2017.
An internally displaced Afghan woman who fled from recent conflict cooks bread outside a shelter in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, Nov. 28, 2017. VOA

IS Reemergence

Afghan joint forces drove IS extremists out of the Pachir Wa Agam district in Nangarhar last December, and then hundreds of local men joined the central government’s security forces to help ensure that IS radicals cannot return to the area.

The Afghan Defense Ministry talked down any “serious” IS threat in the area, asserting that militants are trying to terrify unarmed locals at the behest of regional intelligence agencies. General Mohammad Radmanish told VOA that multiple military operations are under way in eastern Nangarhar province to remove remaining IS fighters.

“We will boost these military operations to provide security and wipe out the traitors. We are also starting to venture the new strategy and improvise our local army units once the areas are cleared,” Radmanish added.

During the past three years, more than 14,000 families were displaced internally in Nangarhad and only 8,000 of them have returned to their houses, Afghan authorities said.

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Joint U.S. and Afghan forces’ air and land operations killed at least 100 IS militants in the province, Afghan authorities said Tuesday. (VOA)

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Handwara Attack: The Tale of Bravery and Sacrifice

Remembering our heroes of Handwara Attack

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Indian glad

By Muskan Bhatnagar

How many of us remember the names of the army officers who lost their lives while serving the nation? How many of us remember the sacrifices made by our defense forces and their families to protect us? How many of us remember the horror tales of the terrorist attacks on national borders? Hardly a few of us. We tend to forget the sacrifices, the immense bravery, and the spirit of the officers who lay down their lives fighting for the country.

It’s not been long since we faced a terrorist attack. In the late hours of May 2, an Indian army colonel, a major, two soldiers, and a Jammu and Kashmir police sub-inspector carried out one of the deadliest operations in Handwara. A 12-hour long operation to avoid a hostage situation cost us the lives of the brave hearts of India. Two terrorists were also neutralized in the encounter as per a statement released by the Indian Army.

Colonel Ashutosh Sharma, Major Anuj Sood, Jammu, and Kashmir police Sub-Inspector Sageer Ahmed Kazi, Lance NK Dinesh, and NK Rajesh lost their lives in a gunbattle with terrorists in North Kashmir. Just a few days have passed by and it seems like everyone has forgotten their sacrifice.

Why is it so, that we tend to normalize martyrdom of soldiers? It requires immense bravery and courage to serve the country without fearing death. Then why do we forget their sacrifice in a few seconds?
No, their job is not to die, but to fight for the nation and protect us. And when they lose their lives while protecting us, it is a great loss. The loss is as big as a celebrity death. When a legendary actor dies, the whole nation mourns. On the other hand, when a soldier is martyred, it is just a matter of a few minutes, and very quickly, we move on.

India_Para2
Our Army deserves a lot more respect and appreciation than we give. Wikimedia Commons

Are real-life heroes not as important as reel life heroes? And if not, then why? The soldiers, standing on the borders, protecting us all including the reel life heroes are as important as any other celebrity. They are the pride of this nation. They undergo harsh living conditions and circumstances just to make sure that none of us suffers or dies. Like us, they too have families whom they have to leave back at home to protect us.

Many families lose their sons, fathers, and brothers. These families wait endlessly to meet their loved ones who serve the nation, they spend countless nights worrying, and then one sudden day they have to face their worst fear of losing that member of the family. Women are widowed, children and parents are devastated, but they all are proud. And so are we.

Terrorist attacks on the borders are not given any importance as compared to the terrorist attacks in cities. My question is why? Yes, in cities civilians are involved and a huge number of people die but the same happens when terrorist attacks take place on the borders of the nation. The soldiers are martyred. Then why do we overlook the news of terrorist attacks on the army?

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This shows how we have normalized martyrdom of soldiers in our lives. Their sacrifice is overlooked as we tend to think that it’s a part of their job, but it isn’t. They don’t stand on the borders to die. They stand there to fight till the end, to bravely face the enemy and to protect the nation and its citizens. It is their love and passion for the country and their bravery that makes them what they are. They deserve all the respect and appreciation, which we fail to deliver.

Appreciation is not something which our respected soldiers demand, it is something which they deserve.
The least we can do is to acknowledge their bravery, courage, and sacrifice, and pay homage to them and always remember the tale of their bravery.

My homage to the brave hearts and may God give strength to their families.

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“Modern” Families in India, Today Adopting So Called “Old-Style” Habit of Cooking with Desi Ghee

They are, however, not alone

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Modern, Families, India
Three years ago, this family made a switch to "desi ghee" (clarified butter), again apparently because of its health benefits. Flickr

All the members of New Delhi-based S. Rahul’s family are health-conscious. That’s the reason why olive oil bottles, often perceived to be a healthier option compared to other cooking oils, made way to their kitchen. Three years ago, this family made a switch to “desi ghee” (clarified butter), again apparently because of its health benefits.

They are, however, not alone. More and more “modern” families in India today are adopting the so called “old-style” habit of cooking with desi ghee. What is more, even doctors and nutritionists agree that when consumed in limited quantity, it can strengthen your bone and boost immunity.

“Desi ghee is considered as one of the best immunity boosters in Indian society. It is beneficial for our eyesight, digestive system and even strengthens bones. Desi ghee also promotes healthy skin and hair,” Priyanka Rohtagi, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, told IANS.

“It is a great antibiotic and helps during cold and cough. It is also used on wounds to speed up healing. During pregnancy, desi ghee provides nourishment to both the mother and the child as they need more nutrients,” she said.

Modern, Families, India
All the members of New Delhi-based S. Rahul’s family are health-conscious. Flickr

Rahul, however, made the decision to switch to desi ghee not on the basis of recommendations of any doctor or nutritionist. He said some YouTube videos explaining the benefits of desi ghee influenced his decision.

“We relied on olive oil before, but we have switched to desi ghee now as it does not burn a hole in your pocket and is also good for health because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It has also eased my psoriasis symptoms,” Rahul claimed.

“After trying desi ghee, we found that it helped us reduce weight while my parents too have stopped complaining about joint pains,” he added.

Desi ghee is made by gently heating cow milk butter. The process becomes complete once the water is evaporated and the fat is separated from the milk solids.

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“Ghee primarily contains saturated fatty acids and is rich in vitamins A, E and K2. It is also rich in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and Butyrate, both of which have powerful health benefits,” B.L. Agarwal, Associate Director, Cardiology, at Jaypee Hospital in Noida, told IANS.

“A normal adult can consume 1-2 table spoons of ghee per day. Apart from that, this quantity can be slightly changed depending upon the quantity of work out one is doing,” Agarwal said.

However, desi ghee should be consumed judiciously as it results in obesity and people suffering from any heart disease, kidney ailment or cholesterol should avoid or limit its consumption, Rohtagi stressed.

“Those who have vitamin A, D, E and K deficiency should take desi ghee in moderation. Consuming desi ghee regularly is excellent for joint health and can act as a lubricant,” said Shalini Bliss, Head Nutritionist and Dietician, Columbia Asia Hospital in Gurugram.

Modern, Families, India
That’s the reason why olive oil bottles, often perceived to be a healthier option compared to other cooking oils, made way to their kitchen. Flickr

“It is also helpful in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis,” she added.

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However, consumers should keep in mind that desi ghee contains saturated fat and overdose for a long time can increase cholesterol level, which is not good for the body, experts said. (IANS)

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No Amount of Money Can Restore Families and Institutions that Were Upended by Prescription Painkillers, Heroin

But for public officials in Akron, no amount of money will restore the families and institutions that were upended by prescription painkillers

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Money, Families, Institutions
Eddie Davis walks past tributes on his way to his son Jeremy's gravestone, who died from the abuse of opioids, July 17, 2019, in Coalton, Ohio. VOA

The tentative settlement involving the opioid crisis and the maker of OxyContin could mean that thousands of local governments will one day be paid back for some of the costs of responding to the epidemic families.

But for public officials in Akron, no amount of money will restore the families and institutions that were upended by prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl.

“The overwhelming sense of hopelessness that took over this community in 2016, you can’t monetize that,” former Assistant Summit County Prosecutor Greta Johnson told lawyers in a deposition in January. “Every single day the newspaper was reporting on the overdose death rates. You could not go into a community setting where there were not weeping mothers talking about their children.”

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma struck a proposed deal Wednesday with about half the states and thousands of local governments over its role in the crisis. But criticism by several state attorneys general clouded prospects for an end to litigation against the company and the family that owns it.

Money, Families, Institutions
Narcotics detective Will Pfeiffer displays an evidence bag containing methamphetamine before it is destroyed in Barberton, Ohio, Sept. 11, 2019. Pixabay

Some people in Akron say the once-proud rubber capital of the world will never be the same. Hundreds of overdose deaths shattered families, orphaned children, exhausted first responders and drained government resources. At one point, city officials needed a mobile morgue to house all the corpses.

Ohio’s fifth-largest city, home to NBA legend LeBron James, and surrounding Summit County, population 540,000, were scheduled to be the first of some 2,000 governments scheduled to go to trial against drugmakers next month. Local officials sought damages from the manufacturers they hold responsible.

Overdose deaths — which hit 340, or nearly one a day, in 2016 — took a toll on the county medical examiner’s budget and her staff. At the height of the scourge, they often had to perform two or more drug-related autopsies in an average day.

Dr. Lisa Kohler, the county’s chief medical examiner, recalled “the mental stress of dealing with repeated cases of having multiple deaths in the same families over a period of weeks to months.”

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The calls about overdose deaths were constant, and “it just felt like it was never going to stop,” Kohler said.

The need for the mobile morgue laid bare the devastating extent of the crisis. The trailers were originally intended for a mass-fatality event, such as a natural disaster, plane crash or terrorist attack.

Akron Fire Chief Clarence Tucker said it sometimes felt as if his community was under attack.

“We handle 45,000 calls a year, and it just kept climbing and climbing,” he said. The fire department had to accelerate maintenance schedules on vehicles, mobilize off-duty paramedics and cope with staff burnout.

Money, Families, Institutions
The tentative settlement involving the opioid crisis and the maker of OxyContin could mean that thousands of local governments will one day be paid back for some. Pxabay

“You can get a call someone has overdosed and you get there, you can bring them back with Narcan. Then you’ll go to the same address in the afternoon,” Tucker said. “Or you go to that address in the morning and the two parents have overdosed and there’s a child there. It’s just horrible. It really is.”

Summit County’s estimated payout from the $12 billion tentative Purdue settlement was estimated at $13.2 million. Akron would receive about $3.7 million. Barberton, the county’s second-largest city, would receive $492,000.

Those dollars are intended to compensate for the many financial effects of opioids, including not only the demands on fire, police and medical services, but the crowded jails, the bulging foster-care system, the bursting drug-court dockets, the overloaded addiction programs and the inundated emergency rooms.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge Joy Malek Oldfield sees about 50 felony offenders in her drug court every Monday morning. It’s one of two drug-court dockets totaling 80 to 100 people, about double the number before the crisis.

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“We’re nearing capacity for both dockets, and most of them are opiate-dependent,” Oldfield said.

In the past, most drug offenders used crack cocaine or marijuana, and “the treatment was tailored to those users,” Oldfield said. “If someone had a bad day and relapsed, they didn’t die.” But opioid addiction requires residential treatment, the judge said.

By October 2017, the opioid outlook was so bad that County Executive Ilene Shapiro declared an emergency, noting in her proclamation that “local response efforts have been exhausted and local resources in Summit County have been overwhelmed, and capabilities have been exceeded.” That year, the county saw another 269 overdose deaths.

For police officers, the crisis meant a slew of extra duties beyond fighting crime, said Barberton Police Chief Vincent Morber.

“They’ve had to be everything. Not just law enforcers, but social workers and drug counselors, trying to hook everybody up with resources,” Morber said. “These poor young officers have done more death notifications in their short time span in 10 years than I have done my whole career.”

Thomas Heitic, chef and general manager of the Green Diamond Grille and Pub, said he hoped the settlement would offer more money for addiction counseling.

“Any of this money that goes towards awareness to me is a joke. We’re all aware of what’s going on. Our medical examiner had to bring in refrigerated trucks because the bodies were piling up. We’re constantly aware of this problem. We need to focus, use that money to focus on treatment.” (VOA)