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United Nation Building. Image source: kids.britannica.com

India has made the starting contribution to the trust fund set up by the UN for victims of sex abuse by peacekeepers, a spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced on Friday, July 22.

The spokesperson, Farhan Haq, told reporters that India’s contribution of $100,000 was the first to the fund established in March to help the victims of sex abuse by UN peacekeepers.


“India has illustrated its strong commitment to our victim-centred approach in addressing sexual exploitation and abuse by UN civilian and uniformed personnel,” Atul Khare, the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, said in a statement. His department administers the fund.

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The fund was established in March 2016, amid an international outcry against sex abuse and exploitation carried out by the UN peacekeepers. The UN has reiterated and strengthened its zero-tolerance policy for abuse.


Protest against sexual violence in India. Image source: www.bbc.co.uk

Indian peacekeepers have received a clean chit from the UN for the early part of this year in 2016 and all of 2015, when the UN began publicly releasing reports of abuse identifying the nationalities of the violators.

Although India is historically the largest troop contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, its personnel have a relatively clean record and India has taken strong steps to execute its zero-tolerance policy.

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The last time Indians were found involved in abuse was between 2010 and 2013 when the Office of Internal Oversight Services said there were three substantiated cases of sexual exploitation or abuse by Indian peacekeepers.

Earlier to that India conducted DNA tests of peacekeepers for paternity tests when allegations of abuse arose from a deployment in Congo during 2007-08.

One soldier was found to have fathered a child there and action was taken against him and three of his superiors. (IANS)

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Basil Leaves

Basil scientifically called Ocimum basilicum, and also known as great basil, is a culinary herb from the Lamiaceae (mints) family. A common aromatic herb, it is usually used to add flavor to a variety of recipes, but what may astonish one is that there are various health benefits of basil that make it well-known for its immunity-enhancing properties.

Basil seeds or basil essential oil are proven to help prevent a wide range of health conditions, which makes it one of the most essential medical herbs known today. Basil has vitamin A, C, E, K, and Omega 3 components including cooling components too. It also contains minerals like Copper, Calcium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Potassium. An ancient Ayurvedic herb, basil has various proven benefits including being anti-inflammatory, ant-oxidant, immune-booster, pain-reducer, and blood vessel-protector.

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This herb also contains cooling components thus making it really helpful for summers. It detoxifies the body and maintains one's body temperature pace. Adding to the benefits Basil contains antioxidant-rich volatile essential oils, which are considered hydrophobic, meaning they don't dissolve in water and are light and small enough to travel through the air and the pores within our skin. Basil's volatile essential oil is something that gives the herb its distinct smell and taste, but basil contains some great healing properties.

In the long history of Ayurveda, basil seeds were also called tukmaria seeds. These seeds may support one's gut health, may complete one's fiber quota, reduce blood sugar, help in weight loss, and also reduce cholesterol.

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When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades.

The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.

The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.

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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.

"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.

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It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.

The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.

Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.

"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.

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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.

"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.

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