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In a classroom overlooking the harbor in the Somali city of Bossaso, Sarath Surasena teaches the basics of boat mechanics.
The students are recruits for a new coast guard being established in Somalia’s Galmudug state, once the epicenter of piracy that paralyzed Indian Ocean shipping lanes a decade ago, and a place Surasena knows all too well.
In 2010, while sailing from South Africa to India with a load of coal, Somali pirates attacked the ship he was working on, the Orna, and held the 19-man crew hostage for more than two years.
“Every day in sunshine, we wake up, we are afraid,” he said. “We don’t know next time who is going to be killed, who is going to be hurt. But one thing I was thinking… if I get a chance to be released and go back to the civilized society, I will try my level best to do something against this human trade. This is human trade, nothing else, they hold a human and demand money.”
The pirates demanded ransom from the Emirati company that owned the ship. Meanwhile, Surasena and the rest of the crew struggled to survive, drinking fuel-contaminated water and subsisting on meager scraps of food.
“Sometimes people [would] fight each other for a potato,” he said. “The same crew, we would start fighting for one potato, one onion, like that.”
At one point, the pirates decided to use the Orna as a mothership to carry out fresh attacks – with the hostages as their crew. They sailed east toward India in search of boats to hijack, but failed twice to capture any.
Amid rough seas, some of the pirates fell overboard, and the hostages rescued them. Soon after, the ship turned back to Galmudug.
Harrowing stay in forest
Months went by with no ransom payment. One day, the pirates took Surasena and other crew members to an inland forest.
“That day I knew something was wrong,” he recalled. “In the morning, I saw all the pirates, their faces were not that happy. They took six people, made us remove all the clothes, then they asked us to lie down, then they tie up our hands and legs, and start beating us like hell. They used a cane.”
In the forest, Surasena was shocked to see militia driving trucks with heavy weapons amid villagers living in abject poverty.
He was made to stay with a poor local family, guarded by their nine-year-old son who carried an AK-47 rifle. The boy reminded Surasena of his own son of the same age, and they became friends.
Still, the terror was ever present. In September 2012, the pirates showed one of Surasena’s fellow crew members, who survived the wounds. A month later, a ransom was paid and the ship and most of its crew went free. But Surasena and five others were held back.
Eventually, his family managed to raise $10,000 to pay off the pirates. On New Year’s Eve 2012, the pirates handed Surasena over to Somalia’s government in Mogadishu. Two weeks later, he was home in Sri Lanka. The other remaining crew members were soon released as well.
But Surasena longed to go back to Somalia to make good on his vow.Coming back as teacher
The U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime was running a program to train Somali coast guard members to protect their own waters. They needed an engineer to teach boat mechanics and maintenance. Surasena got the job, and in October 2014 returned to Somalia.
He’s since let his family know, and today he lives in the port city Bossaso, staying in a fortified U.N. compound due to the war-torn nation’s persistent insecurity.
So far, he’s trained two coast guard units in different parts of Somalia that have deployed on the high seas, including a team of 10 in Bossaso he taught to repair and maintain their boats.
“I am happy over here,” he said. “They are good mechanics now. Indirectly, I am participating against this piracy.”
Since its heyday a decade ago, piracy has dropped dramatically in the Indian Ocean, thanks in part to local coast guards and deployment of international navies in Somali waters.
But the threat remains. Having seen crushing poverty in Somalia’s countryside, Surasena says it will take more than force to rid the seas of piracy completely.
“These people are not well looked after, they suffer,” he said. “At the same time, there are other people in the society living luxury life. So these people wanted to make money either in good way or bad way.”
“Whatever we do against the piracy, we cannot totally stop it unless we develop the country.” VOA
Amitabh Bachchan is adored by the public for his unforgettable on-screen performances as well as his magnetic demeanour. Not only do fans love Amitabh Bachchan's outstanding performance, but the actor's heartwarming words are also highly regarded. A much moved Amitabh Bachchan, during his speech to the crowd of over 80,000 people at the Reliance Industries' annual event, said that the legacy left by Dhirubhai has had a positive impact on millions of people's lives worldwide.
When Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan became bankrupt in the late 1990s, Dhirubhai Ambani stepped forward to give him financial assistance. In his speech, Bachchan remembered that Dhirubhai had sent Anil Ambani to offer him financial assistance during the crisis, which he had respectfully declined. Lenders began knocking on his door, losses mounted, and his bank account dwindled to nothing. He said, "Dhirubhai's money might have gotten me out of the problem quickly. However, I respectfully declined his offer and gradually began to find work again, which let me pay off my debt."
Amitabh Bachchan is adored by the public for his unforgettable on-screen performances as well as his magnetic demeanour. | Flickr
Later, after Bachchan had recovered from the bankruptcy, one day he was invited to an event at Dhirubhai's residence; Bachchan added, "Dhirubhai was standing and having a chat with his industrialist friends when he saw me there, he called me, firstly I felt shy even to present myself in front of such big industrialists but then, I went there, and Dhirubhai declared in front of all of them that 'This young man had fallen but managed to get back up on his own, I have a lot of respect for him because of that.' Those words of his were worth much more to me than any amount of money that he could have offered me."
It was the "Reliance Family Day" event and was attended by members of the Ambani family from all generations. The event commemorated the company's 40-year journey since its inception. It also celebrated the 85th birthday of the late Dhirubhai Ambani, RILs (Reliance Industries Limited) founder.
Keywords: Bollywood, Reliance, Amitabh Bachchan, Dhirubhai Ambani, event
In comparison to adults, children are prone to getting traumatized by troubling events easily, and this makes it important for parents to help their children when the times are tough. It could be a brutal accident, an unprecedented pandemic, a violent crime, or other disasters but with the right parental support, children have a higher chance of coming out stronger from an awful situation.
Anuja Kapur, Psychologist shares few tips wherein you can assist your child when tough times comes calling:
Every child responds differently to disturbing events: What children feel about a current disaster in their life and how they react to it can come and go in waves. Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. There's no absolute "right" or "wrong" way to feel after a traumatic event so make sure not to dictate what your child or how your child should feel and react to the event.
Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. | Photo by Kat J on Unsplash
Encourage your child to be transparent: Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. The unpleasantness will pass if your child opens up about it and that the phase is temporary. While many teens may be reluctant to talk about their feelings with a parent, encourage them to confide in another trusted adult such as a family friend, relative, or a counselor and teacher. It's important to talkeeven if it's not with you.
Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. | Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash
Deter your child from reliving the disturbing event: Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. However, to negate such things from happening encourage activities that keep your child's mind occupied so they're not obsessive about the event. You could encourage your children to read, play games together, or simply watch an uplifting movie.
Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. | Photo by Юлія Дубина on Unsplash
Cocoon your child with warmth: In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. Teens may try to be tough through it and avoid being held, but they still need the proximity.
In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. | Photo by adrianna geo on Unsplash
Maintain routines. Establishing a predictable structure and schedule for your child's life can help to make the world seem more stable again. Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. Make sure your child accommodates time and space for rest, play, and fun. Keeping up with a schedule can help countercheck the obnoxious feeling of stress and worry in children about the future being dark, hopeless, and unpredictable.
Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. | Photo by Paico Oficial on Unsplash
Acknowledge and validate your child's concerns. The disastrous events in life may give place to unrelated fright and concerns in your child. However, understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child. If at any point the child blames himself for the event make sure to make it clear and crisp the event was not their fault, you love them, and it's okay for them to feel upset, angry, or scared but not guilty.
Understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child Photo by Jeremiah Lawrence on Unsplash
Irrespective of the age of your child, it is vital for parents to offer that extra support and assistance following an unsettling event. The traumatic event may bring up unrelated fears and issues in your child. However, by accepting their thoughts and replacing their fear with your love and direction, the ominous feelings will start to fade away. Eventually, the child will be able to return to a normal and healthy life. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Kids, Help, stress, cope, routine, warmth, understanding, encourage, psychology, children
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), has announced plans for smartphone and other electronics manufacturers to fit a common USB-C charging port on their devices in an effort to reduce waste. In addition to phones, the rules will apply to other devices like tablets, headphones, portable speakers, videogame consoles, and cameras, reports The Verge. The decision will have a huge impact on Apple, as the company still uses its own Lightning connector to charge iPhones. The proposals only cover devices using wired, not wireless and a USB-C port is only mandatory for devices that charge using a cable.
"Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices | Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash
"Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary. We are putting an end to that," the report quoted EU commissioner Thierry Breton as saying.
The Commission also wants to unbundle the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices, which it says will improve the consumers' convenience. "With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics - an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste." In addition, the Commission will require manufacturers to provide relevant information about charging performance. (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Electronic Devices, Chargers, Cable, smartphone, Adapters, Charging Cord