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August 26, 2016: In its frenzy to clear Iraq of Islamic State and erase any trace of the extremists’ self-declared caliphate, Baghdad is running the risk of laying the foundation for the terror group’s resurgence.
Human rights groups already have voiced repeated concerns about the treatment of civilians from areas once controlled by IS, and point to a growing anxiety among Iraqi Sunnis living under IS that they will be targeted no matter what.
“A large number of people have simply disappeared, who were picked up when they left ISIS,” Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser, told VOA, using an acronym for the terror group.
“Pretty much everybody coming out of ISIS areas now is considered to have been there by choice and cooperated,” she said.
Males suspected to have collaborated with IS have disappeared from checkpoints — such as the Hezbollah-controlled point of Razazah, near Karbala — or from extrajudicial security screening centers run by Shi’ite militias near Fallujah.
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And the fear is that human rights abuses and a lack of accountability will only increase as Iraqi federal forces, Kurdish Peshmerga and the coalition further tighten the noose around the IS stronghold of Mosul.
Fear of revenge
Although Shi’ite militias have stayed away from the Mosul front line so far, there are concerns they may move into the city as it falls to Iraqi forces.
“I fear that if the Shi’ite militias play a large role in Mosul, there will be significant revenge and retaliation actions, similar to what happened in Fallujah,” said David Witty, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces colonel and former adviser to the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service.
As Mosul falls, Iraqi officials increasingly will be forced to decide the fate of many of the more than 1 million civilians who have lived under IS rule for more than two years.
“There are questions as to whether the judicial system could cope with these numbers,” said Francesco Motta, director of the office of human rights at the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, or UNAMI.
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“No judiciary could handle an influx of possibly thousands of cases,” Motta told VOA.
Already, human rights groups say the system is failing.
In Anbar province, where the former IS-held cities of Ramadi and Fallujah are located, there are thousands of detainees with very few people conducting interrogations, low-quality lawyers, and few examining magistrates looking at cases, according to Amnesty’s Rovera.
“Not only did they not have the expertise, the place was like a market house on a busy market day,” Rovera said of one processing point that Amnesty visited.
“No one can do a good job in those circumstances, even if they had the skills,” she added. “With the background of a dysfunctional judiciary, that does not give a good result.
“Hopefully, for Iraqi collaborators with IS, they will get turned over to the legal system, but many will probably not make it that far,” Witty said.
Flood of suspects
Making the situation even more treacherous is the lack of resources dedicated to the official screening processes run by the Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional government.
Iraqis and foreign fighters suspected of affiliation or of fighting with IS will be transferred immediately to Ministry of Interior detention centers known as tasfiraat, or held in military prisons and charged under Iraq’s counterterrorism laws.
The problem is there could be thousands of suspects. Tens of thousands of civilians already have fled IS-held areas, and an estimated 1 million additional civilians are in Mosul.
Women and children also may be found guilty.
“It is a concern that the families will be treated similarly to the fighters,” Motta said. “The issue of accountability is becoming extremely important.”
The U.N. has been advocating for an international tribunal or investigation mechanism and appropriate domestic mechanisms to be put in place to ensure that IS victims are not unfairly charged.
Motta also pointed out that IS fighters are not the only people guilty of crimes in the two-year conflict.
“Any attempt to limit jurisdiction to one party to the conflict, or to one particular group of victims or to one particular crime, would potentially be highly detrimental in terms of ensuring justice and promoting community reconciliation,” he said.
IS has tended to lodge itself in Sunni-majority areas, exploiting deep sectarian grievances against Iraq’s majority Shi’ite governments.
If Sunni fears of sectarian abuses are realized, the future of Iraq could be bleak.
“At some point, four or five months down the road, six months down the road, a year down the road, when the governance is not being delivered, services are not being delivered, sectarian violence is taking place … [IS will] see an environment in which the conditions are ripe for them to re-establish themselves,” warned Patrick Martin, Iraq research analyst with the Institute for the Study of War. (VOA)
Achieving soft, beautiful and happy skin is a dream for most of us or at least a long-pending item on our wish list. While there are lot of suggestions, a laundry list of do's and don'ts to follow, there are some basics that don't change. We have to understand that happy skin is a holistic process that requires one to work on building healthy habits combined with good skincare.
Here's a ready reckoner by ITC Fiama of tried and tested skincare habits that will serve as a reminder that skincare doesn't need to be complicated, it just needs to be consistent.
* Cleanse & Moisturise -- The first and the simplest step towards healthy skin is regular cleansing and moisturising, it is advisable to use a moisturizing body soap that ensures your skin gets the right nutrients and remains supple and nourished. A great product suited to this requirement is Fiama Gel Bathing Bar, which is enriched with nature's goodness. Fiama's bathing bars come in 5 variants and they help moisturize the skin making it appear soft, happy and bouncy.
The first and the simplest step towards healthy skin is regular cleansing and moisturising. | Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash
* Balanced Diet -- Healthy skin is an outcome of a balanced diet. The food we eat provides the building blocks for healthy functioning of our bodies. Our diet has everything to do with the health of our skin. The nutrients, minerals, and proteins found in food support collagen production and healthy cell membranes, and protect skin from harmful stressors, such as UV exposure.
Healthy skin is an outcome of a balanced diet. | Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash
* Smile -- While most of us hate the idea of having crow's eyes and lines while we smile. We rarely realize the benefits of a simple smile. When we smile the blood flow gets better, and the skin receives more oxygen and nutrients. This can help you develop a healthier complexion alternately it also leaves you stress free making you look happy and radiant.
When we smile the blood flow gets better, and the skin receives more oxygen and nutrients. | Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash
* Drink Enough H20 -- With our bodies comprising of 70 per cent water, drinking sufficient amount of water is the easiest way to keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Drinking adequate water helps flush out toxins from our bodies, preventing pimples and acne and boosting the skin's elasticity. No wonder, water is called the elixir of life.
Drinking adequate water helps flush out toxins from our bodies, preventing pimples and acne and boosting the skin's elasticity. | Photo by Bluewater Sweden on Unsplash
* Move Your Body -- Along with cleansing and proper nutrition, another aspect which is important for happy skin is movement. When we move or burn calories, the body produces chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain and trigger positive feelings and happy thoughts. This feeling of pure happiness and joy reflects on the skin, thus having the power to completely change your mood and keep you and your skin beaming. (IANS/ MBI)
When we move or burn calories, the body produces chemicals called endorphins. | Photo by Joanna Nix-Walkup on Unsplash
Keywords: Skin, soft, happy, healthy, food, move, calories, water, smile, moisturise, water, cleanse
It is true that street performances has been existing in India since ancient times. But, it was Philip Astley who brought the concept of circus in India in the 1880s. Interestingly, Astley is known as the father of modern circus.
Birth of the Great Indian Circus
In 1879, the Royal Italian Circus by Giuseppe Chiarini came to India. Before any of his shows, he would often say that India did not have a proper circus, and apparently, the country would have to wait for many years in order to develop the "circus trend".
Once, Balasahib Patwardhan, who was the king of the Kurundwad state of Sangli (today's Kolhapur) went to watch the circus. He was accompanied by Vishnupant Chatre, who was the keeper of his stable and also a riding master at the stables. As it was ritual, before starting with any performance, Chiarini used to challenge the audience by saying, "a thousand British Indian rupees and a horse would be given to anyone who would repeat his daring effects within six months". Interestingly, this time, the challenge was accepted by Chatre, and he announced that he will perform the same in Kurundwad within three months. And if he fails, he promised Chiarini that he would return "ten thousand British Indian rupees and top ten horses. On March 20, 1880, Chatre came to perform his circus at the Kurundwad Palace Grounds. But Chiarini did not come to see it.
Soon after this, Vishnupant Chatre bought most of the circus equipment from Chiarini, and within a year, he formed a new circus company called the "Great Indian Circus". This is referred to as the first circus company in India. Chatre's Great Indian Circus toured various parts of India and the world. Later on, Chatre merged his circus company with his cousin's company to launch a new company by the name of "Karlekar Grand Circus".
Other Famous Circuses of India
After the coming of Karlekar Grand Circus, many circuses came into being in India. In 1904, the Malabar Grand Circus, which was the first circus company in Kerala came into being under the leadership of Pariyali Kannan. Another circus named the Great Royal Circus was started in 1909. Though, its previous name was Madhuskar's Circus. One of the famous circuses of India was also the Grand Bombay Circus which was founded in the year 1920 by Baburao Kadam. Since a long time, tradition of circus as an art has been prevalent in India, though slight decline in its practice is evident now.
Keywords: India, Circus, Tradition, Art, Performance, Great Indian Circus, Philip Astley, Culture
By- Naman Rastogi
The first thing to understand about API security testing is that it is not a one-size-fits-all process. Testers must take into account the scope of the project, as well as the specific needs of developers and end-users. This article will provide you with some basic guidelines for an API security testing program. It will also outline some API security tests that you should consider including in your API testing process.
API security testing is a process that checks API functions for security vulnerabilities. These tests are intended to identify problems with the API's design, functionality, and implementation. API security testing is a proactive way to check the API for potential exploits.
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Tests To Include in API Security Testing
The API's parameter tampering test is a way to check any API calls that contain parameters for known attack patterns. The API security testing tool you use should provide warning alerts when it finds these types of vulnerability points.
Parameter tampering occurs because developers aren't properly securing the input data before it enters an API call from another application or web service. This gives attackers the ability to tamper with API input data. You can checkout this detailed guide on How to Perform Web Application Testing
Testing for API parameter tampering can include looking at all variables within API calls and checking whether they need to exist or not. In your tests, you'll also want to check how values are passed into API calls and whether or not they can be changed once data is passed in.
Also Read: No Halfway Deal In Security
Input fuzzing is one of the most basic kinds of testing you can perform on an API. It occurs when attackers send API inputs that contain random or unexpected values. This test will show you whether the API can handle random data or not. It should do so without impeding its performance, but rather enhancing it.
The API security testing tool you use should allow for several different types of fuzzing:
●Data Format Fuzzing: An input format can be modified to see how the API responds when an invalid value is received.
●Range Fuzzing: Some APIs only accept certain numeric ranges from authorized users, such as credit card numbers and phone numbers. You should check whether your API functions properly under this type of condition.
The first thing to understand about API security testing is that it is not a one-size-fits-all process.Getastra
●Boundary Fuzzing: This type of fuzzing should be used to check for boundaries within the API itself. For example, checking if a string is between certain character lengths, determining whether it's possible to pass in an empty parameter value that will still produce valid results, etc.
Testing for API input fuzzing can also include randomizing parameters that are always required by the API function being tested (e.g., session IDs). If these values don't need to exist, hackers will be able to bypass any checks made by the developers who have implemented strict guidelines regarding API usage.
Another API security test you should consider is to check for unhandled API functions. Unhandled API methods are those that developers didn't code into the API. This happens either because they were unaware of their necessity or simply forgot about them.
Allowing access to these functions creates a vulnerability point in your API's functionality. Unfortunately, attackers can use these vulnerabilities as attack vectors. API security testing should search for unhandled API methods and alert you to their presence.
This API security testing method will help you determine how well the API performs under different input conditions without any malicious actors trying to tamper with it.
A final API security test you should consider is to check for possible injection attacks. This type of vulnerability occurs when user-defined input data can be inserted into API calls as part of the API's scripting language.
Injecting attacks have been a long-time security threat for APIs. This is because they allow attackers to use any type of data that can be manipulated and inserted into an API call. They should ideally only allow what is provided by regular users or applications trying to access the API.
The API security testing process goes beyond just finding the presence of common API attack vectors like cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, remote code execution, and much more. It also looks for other API features that can put your system at risk if they aren't properly secured with input validation defenses or strict API security features.
Though API security testing may seem daunting, it's a necessary step in securing your systems and data. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If you don't have time to do this yourself, you can always seek help from security experts. The costs are justified by the benefits. So, make sure to conduct API security testing if you haven't already!
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