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In this photo taken Saturday, March. 22, 2014, Somali journalist Abdiaziz Mohamed Ali Haji, ,left, stands in radio Shabelle compound in Mogadishu, Somalia. Unidentified gunmen shot dead a journalist in Somalia's capital on Tuesday, his colleague said. Abdiaziz Mohamed Ali Haji, a reporter for Shabelle radio, was shot on his way to home in the north of the city, said Abdirizak Turyare, a producer at the radio. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh,) VOA

Mogadishu, April 3, 2017: A Somali journalist who as abducted Saturday at gunpoint says he escaped from his kidnappers after the vehicle being used broke down.

Hanad Ali Guled was found early Sunday on a farm near Afgoye town, 30 kilometers west of Mogadishu. He said the vehicle used by his abductors broke down as they tried to move him from one location to another.

Initial reports indicated he was dumped there by the abductors, but Guled told VOA Somali that he escaped. His left hand and leg were chained tighter, he said during his captivity. He said five gunmen were involved in his abduction.

“At around 1 a.m., the vehicle we were traveling in broke down, three of the men got out and walked away as if they were trying to get help, two stayed with me,” he said.

He said the two guards then tried to fix the car, which gave him an opportunity to escape.

“I threw myself into a canal nearby and hid there for 30 minutes,” he said.
He related how the men went looking for him on the wrong side of the canal, and he then fled in the opposite direction.

He was found with his left hand and leg chained together. He contacted his wife who alerted his media station, Goobjoog. The station contacted police in Afgoye, who located him and escorted him to Mogadishu.

Police got a statement from Guled before he was taken to a hospital in the city for medical evaluation.

Guled works as a news producer at Goobjoog radio and television. He says he was abducted at about 8 a.m. on Saturday by five gunmen wearing Somali government soldiers’ uniforms after he left his home for work. He said two masked gunmen held pistols to his head and took him to a car with three other gunmen already inside.

He said he was initially taken to a location where he was interrogated by the gunmen.
“They asked me what I do, places I visit, if I am a member of NISA [National Intelligence and Security Agency] how long I was in the media?” he said.

During the interrogation, the abductors stomped on him several times, he said.
“They stomped on me, they walk away briefly, speak on the phone, then come back to continue interrogation,” he said.

Guled recently co-founded Media for Aid, a program aimed at encouraging journalists to play a role in helping drought victims. He said the abductors asked him about the Media for Aid campaign.

“I believe they were against what I have been doing recently, the Media for Aid campaign,” he said.

Asked if he suspected al-Shabab, he said he could not tell and could not recognize their faces.

Guled’s family said he received threatening phone calls the night before the abduction from anonymous callers. One of the co-founders of the Media for Aid campaign also said he received a phone call asking him about the appeal.

Mohamed Ibrahim Moallimu, secretary-general of National Union of Somali Journalists, says the identities of the abductors are still unknown, and no one has claimed responsibility. Moallimu said the search for the perpetrators will continue.

“The abduction has happened, but the question is who abducted him? That is the job of the security branches,” he said. “We don’t want the case to end there, we want security forces to go after it and find whoever is responsible.”

Somalia is one of the most dangerous places to be based as a journalist. Dozens of journalists have been killed, harassed or detained in the country over the past 10 years. (VOA)


Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

The only constant in life is change itself.

By Devina Kaur

Everything in life is temporary. The only constant in life is change itself. That is a reality that we cannot deny. The beauty of this fact is that it allows us to confront our fears, trust the magic of the moment, and enjoy the precious gift of life. What lasts forever is our true self -- the real you -- the person you were born to be. If you feel stuck, trapped, boring or insecure -- acknowledge yourself, find yourself and who you really are on the inside. Your shiny sexy brilliant self is there. It's been there all along. You just need to unveil it.

It's a very common question to ask: "Who am I?" and it's not an easy question to answer. We might be able to give a definition of ourselves, like professional or student, or that we're introverts or extroverts but this doesn't really represent our true selves. We might also try to describe our best qualities and say that we're kind and smart but again, these qualities only indicate the surface level of who we really are.

Black and white shot of man sitting on night bus through dirty window in Boston It's a very common question to ask: "Who am I?" and it's not an easy question to answer. | Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

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Dia Mirza champions sustainable fashion

Actor and environmental activist, Dia Mirza, who is also the National Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) was showstopper for Indian designers Abraham & Thakore at the recently held LFW X FDCI event. The designer duo who are pioneers of slow fashion and sustainability in the Indian fashion landscape showcased a timeless sustainable collection.

IANSlife spoke with Mirza on sustainable choices when it comes to fashion.

Read Excerpts:

Q: Did you enjoy the on-ground fashion event and the energy that came with the physical show and appearance?
A: Yes absolutely. It was just so refreshing and wonderful to finally be back from a virtual audience. Last year we did a digital show and the energy was just not there, this is an interactive experience and we draw so much from real people.

Q: The outfit that was chosen for you, how did it complement your style?
A: It's a garment that I think involves and is reflective of what I stand for, I deeply care about sustainability and I love the fact that the garment has been made with repurposed material, used and created with a hundred per cent post-consumer bottles, and made by the waste generated from the pieces of fabric that we discard while creating other garments. So it was a very special garment that really and truly celebrated repurposing and reusing and upcycling.

Dia Mirza is an Indian model, actress, producer, and social worker who predominantly works in Hindi films. Mirza won the title of Miss Asia Pacific International in 2000. IANSlife spoke with Mirza on sustainable choices when it comes to fashion. | Wikimedia Commons

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Delhi to get new QR-based driving livenses and registration certificates.

In a step towards digitisation of the system, Delhi Transport Department will soon issue QR based Smart cards for driving licenses (DLs) and registration certificates (RCs).

As per a statement, the new driving licence will have an advanced microchip with features like Quick Response (QR) code and Near Field Communication (NFC). The new RC will have the owner's name printed on the front while the microchip and the QR code would be embedded at the back of the card.

The cards earlier had embedded chips, but chip reader machines were not available in the required quantity with both the Delhi Traffic Police and the Enforcement Wing of the Transport Department. Moreover, chips were designed and implemented by the states concerned, which resulted in difficulties in reading the chip and retrieving information, especially in case of defaulters.

"Now with the QR based smart card, this issue is resolved. This will enable unification in linking and validating one's information to smart cards with Sarathi and Vahan, the two web-based databases of all driving licenses and vehicle registrations," the release added.

The QR is also being implemented nationwide, the QR code reader is easily procurable and will do away with the requirement of any manual intervention altogether. The new cards will also allow two specific materials for their card manufacturing -- PolyVinyl Chloride or PVC, or PolyCarbonate which is slightly more expensive but more durable. (Card Size - 85.6mm x 54.02 mm; Thickness minimum 0.7 mm)

An October 2018 notification of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had made changes to the Driving License and Registration Certificate. The new Smart card based DL and RC, will have chip based/ QR code based recognition system. At the same time, documents such as driving license or registration certificates in electronic formats on DigiLockers and mParivahan were also made valid in place of physical documents and treated at par with original documents.

The QR code also has an added advantage of acting as a safety feature on the smart card. The department will be able to retain records and penalties of the DL holder for up to 10 years on the VAHAN database as soon as a driver/ owner's Smart card is confiscated. The new DLs will also help the government in maintaining records of differently-abled drivers, any modifications made to the vehicles, emission standards and the person's declaration to donate organs. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Delhi, Driving License, Registration License, Digitisation.