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Walking proudly down a catwalk, the lights and glamour seemed like a lifetime away from Elzat Kazakbaeva’s nightmare ordeal five years ago when she was grabbed off a Kyrgyzstan street by a group of men wanting to marry her to an uninvited suitor.
Kazakbaeva is one of thousands of woman abducted and forced to marry each year in the former Soviet republic in Central Asia where bride kidnappings continue, particularly in rural areas.
Bride kidnapping, which also occurs in nations like Armenia, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan, was outlawed in 2013 in Kyrgyzstan where authorities recognized it could lead to marital rape, domestic violence, and psychological trauma.
But some communities still see it as a pre-Soviet tradition dating back to tribal prestige, said Russell Kleinbach, professor emeritus of sociology at Philadelphia University and co-founder of women’s advocacy group Kyz Korgon Institute.
Accepting abuse no more
Now a new generation of women is eschewing acceptance of this abuse, with their campaign escalating in 2018 when one kidnapped bride, Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy, 20, was put in the same police cell as the man who abducted her — and stabbed to death.
Her killer was jailed for 20 years but her murder sparked national outrage and protests against bride kidnappings in a country where campaigners said tougher sentences were handed down for kidnapping livestock than women until recently.
Fashion designer Zamira Moldosheva is part of a rising public movement against bride kidnapping that has included such events as charity bike rides and flag installations with campaigners saying more events would be planned this year.
She organized a fashion show featuring only women who had been abused or kidnapped, dressed as historical Kyrgyz women.
“Can’t we women do something against the violence taking place in our country?” Moldosheva said in an interview in Bishkek, the capital of the majority Muslim nation of 6 million people.
“Bride kidnapping is not our tradition, it should be stopped,” she said, adding that bride kidnapping was a form of forced marriage and not a traditional practice.
Myth not tradition
Kazakbaeva, one of 12 models in the fashion show, said she was glad to participate in the event last October to highlight her ordeal and encourage other women to flee forced marriages.
Kazakbaeva, then a student age 19, was ambushed in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon outside her college dormitory in Bishkek and forced into a waiting car by a group of men.
“I felt as if I was an animal,” Kazakbaeva told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, her faced streaked with tears. “I couldn’t move or do anything at all.”
Kazakbaeva was taken to the groom’s home in rural Issyk Kul region, about 200 km (125 miles) east of Bishkek, where she was dressed in white and taken into a decorated room for an impending ceremony.
She spent hours pleading with the groom’s family — and her own — to stop the forced marriage.
“My grandmother is very traditional, she thought it would be a shame and she started convincing me to stay,” Kazakbaeva said.
When her mother threatened to call the police, the groom’s family finally let her go.
She was lucky to escape unwed, she said, and hoped the fashion show, depicting historical female figures, would help to bring the taboo subject to the fore.
“Women nowadays can also be the characters of new fairy tales for others,” said Kazakbaeva, dressed as a female freedom fighter from ancient Kyrgyzstan, which gained independence from Moscow in 1991. “I’m fighting for women’s rights.”
Women suppressing women
Kyrgyzstan toughened laws against bride kidnapping in 2013, making it punishable by up to 10 years in prison, according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which said it was a myth that the practice was ever part of the culture.
In a handful of cases the kidnappings are consensual, said Kleinbach, especially in poorer communities where the practice was akin to eloping to save costs of a ceremony or hefty dowry.
A UNDP spokeswoman said data was scant on the number of women abducted each year because many women did not report the crime through fear but they estimate about 14 percent of women younger than 24 are still married through some form of coercion.
“They don’t want to report, this is the issue,” Umutai Dauletova, gender coordinator at the UNDP in Kyrgyzstan, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Dauletova said most cases did not make it to court as women retracted their statements, often under pressure from female family members, fearing public shaming for disobedience or no longer being a virgin.
“This is the phenomenon of women suppressing other women,” she said.
Aida Sooronbaeva, 35, was not as fortunate as Kazakbaeva.
Back from school, at age 17, she found her grandfather tied up and her home smashed up so she hid until her brother tricked her to seek refuge with a friend whose family kidnapped her.
Initially she refused to marry their son and tried to escape but she said she was eventually worn down by social pressure in her village and was married for 16 years despite domestic abuse.
“He kept me at home, never letting me out, just in the yard,” said Sooronbaeva, exposing scars on her neck and stomach. “I lived with him only for the sake of my children.”
But a few years ago, the violence got so bad that she ran into the street where she was rescued by a passer-by and she finally found the courage to leave her husband.
She said she hoped speaking out, and taking part in campaigns like the fashion show, would break the taboos surrounding forced marriage.
“Now I perceive any man as an enemy. I never even think of getting remarried,” said Sooronbaeva, adorned in heavy jewelry and colorful make-up.
But she added, with a note of optimism: “Women are strong, we can survive.” (VOA)
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has finally started rolling out end-to-end encrypted chat backups for iOS and Android users globally. With the new update, if a user chooses to back up his chat history with end-to-end encryption, it will be accessible only to him, and no one will be able to unlock the backup. Neither WhatsApp nor the backup service provider will be able to access their end-to-end encryption backup.
"With end-to-end encrypted backups, no other messaging service at WhatsApp's scale will provide this level of security for people's messages -- from sending and transit, to receiving and storing in the cloud," the company said in a post. The feature will be rolling out "slowly" for people on the latest version of the app.
he feature will be rolling out "slowly" for people on the latest version of the app. | Photo by AARN GIRI on Unsplash
Once the feature rolls out, open WhatsApp, go to Settings > Chats > Chat Backups > End-to-End Encrypted Backup, and then follow the prompts. One can now secure their end-to-end encrypted backup with either a password of their choice or a 64-digit encryption key which means that no one else but only the user will be able to access the backup.
"This feature will provide people with more privacy and security for their digital conversations and that's a responsibility that we don't take lightly. Given this, we are rolling this out slowly to ensure a consistent and reliable user experience for people on iOS and Android around the world," the company added. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: encryption, encrypted, whatsapp, people, backup, End-to-end Encryption
A luxurious house makeover might seem to be an expensive and overwhelming task but it doesn't necessarily have to drill holes in your pocket. A few small changes and the right decor pieces can make a huge difference to the way your home looks. Keyur Zaveri, VP of Design at Furlenco shares some ideas that could give your home a rich look.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
While it may feel intuitive to keep adding expensive decor to your home to give it the luxurious touch, in today's ageless is really more. Simplifying your space can give your home a classy look. Invest in a few accent decor pieces - a lamp, wall art, decor for a centre table that are cohesive and work well together in the theme of your room as opposed to having numerous things that do not look like they belong together. Resist the temptation to buy over-the-top accessories and unnecessary furniture, which make your home look bulky.
Resist the temptation to buy over-the-top accessories and unnecessary furniture, which make your home look bulky. | Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash
The most important part of creating a luxurious house is to add furniture that is comfortable and elegant. Good furniture, paired with stylish soft furnishings is the first step to creating a beautiful house. Pillows & Cushions of various sizes and accent throws can instantly make a home feel more inviting. Play around with the colours and fabrics of the furniture and find soft furnishing that complements the centrepieces. Invest in good quality fabrics like velvet, linen or suede to upholster your furniture. You can even try textured fabrics like denim blue and faux leather.
Pillows & Cushions of various sizes and accent throws can instantly make a home feel more inviting. | Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
Lighting can make all the difference to the vibe of your house and help you create a luxurious, beautiful looking space. Using multiple sources of light that draw attention to various corners in the house can make a space look very well put together. Invest in ceiling lamps, floor lamps, table lamps, and accent light fixtures to highlight your favourite areas in the house. While it is advisable to keep a single colour and tone of light, the intensity and direction can be played around to enhance the ambience of the space.
Lighting can make all the difference to the vibe of your house and help you create a luxurious, beautiful looking space. | Photo by Karan Nagpal on Unsplash
Layering works wonders everywhere- be it a chic coat or blazer over your outfit that adds extra charm, or adding decor pieces to your furniture for a luxe look. Carpets add splendour and exquisiteness, instantly changing the way a room looks. Area rugs under tables and sofas help in defining spaces and can blend together the whole look. Experiment with some elegant runners near your beds, on top of your dining tables, or even your bathrooms. You can also add wall coverings and window coverings for a more inclusive aesthetic.
Area rugs under tables and sofas help in defining spaces and can blend together the whole look. | Photo by Sina Saadatmand on Unsplash
You can add a small yet noticeable metallic touch to upgrade your interiors. However, you must be careful to not overdo it; the key to going bling is to keep the metallic accessories minimal. Consider golds, bronzes, copper or silver hues and incorporate them in cushions, lamps, accent walls, lighting fixtures, or centrepieces. You should ensure that each finish is a thoughtful addition to your space.
You can add a small yet noticeable metallic touch to upgrade your interiors. | Photo by Stephanie Harvey on Unsplash
Incorporating these tips can do wonders for your home decor. You can make your home luxurious, without costing an arm and a leg. More than anything it's about making the right choices that give your house look clean and classy.
(Article originally published on IANS Life) (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: metallic, lighting, fabrics, invest, luxurious, furniture
India may not see a billion smartphone users even by the end of this decade and there are seven key challenges to achieve 100 per cent smartphone penetration, according to a new report. With the shrinking addressable base for smartphones, India is likely to have 887.4 million smartphone users by 2030, said the report by Gurugram-based market intelligence firm techARC.
The new smartphone user acquisition has been on a decline since 2018, after 4G drove switch to smartphones as it ushered several new use cases and forced feature phone users to upgrade. This, however, is not the case with 5G, which can substantially bring out a new use case for the mobile users compelling the feature phone users to move to a smartphone.
Affordability is the first concern even if users would discover their own use cases. "This is on account of both - investment in the device and the recurring data cost. Even to own a device, it's a substantial increase in the outlay for around 200-250 million users who cannot spent more than Rs 1,500 on a mobile device," said Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst, techARC.
Even to own a device, it's a substantial increase in the outlay for around 200-250 million users who cannot spent more than Rs 1,500 on a mobile device. | Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash
Second reason is that there are no models that could self-subsidise the smartphones for this potential audience, who are on the other side of the fence waiting to join the smartphone arena. "Advertising-based revenue and value-added driven revenues are negligible for such audiences where advertisers would not be ready to spend much as this is not their target audience," the report mentioned. So, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) cannot work out any model of recovering partial cost of the device upfront and then realising the gap in due course through other streams.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) cannot work out any model of recovering partial cost of the device upfront and then realising the gap in due course through other streams. | Photo by Zac Ong on Unsplash
The third key reason is that the OEM ecosystem is gradually moving away from the entry segment. All major OEMs have disinvested out of the entry segment (less than Rs 5,000) where the first-time smartphone user would fall. Rather OEMs are moving to higher average selling price (ASP) as consumers are willing to spend more (15-35 per cent) on their next upgrade/replacement of smartphones.
The fourth reason is that the OEMs are adding more features and functions to their smartphones to facilitate paying users leverage more from the device by consuming content and other services, which are subscription based. The interest of OEMs is gradually moving in this direction, where they could increase the lifetime value (LTV) per smartphone user by getting a pie of the services that the users are paying for.
"Another reason is that attempts such as a hybrid smart-feature phone, haven't paid off well. Though it has got in additional 80-85 million users into the digital ecosystem using fundamental digital services, majority of the featurephone users haven't accepted this 'workaround' wholeheartedly," said Kawoosa.
Attempts such as a hybrid smart-feature phone, haven't paid off well. | Photo by The Average Tech Guy on Unsplash
The sixth reason is that globally, we are witnessing prices of components going up on the one or another pretext. This is only forcing the OEMs to increase the cost of the devices and in a very hypersensitive market like smartphones, it is very challenging for the OEMs to frequently trade-off between input costs and the market opportunities.
Globally, we are witnessing prices of components going up on the one or another pretext. | Photo by Yiorgos Ntrahas on Unsplash
Finally, the entire smartphone ecosystem is interested in investing in opportunities which are rewarding. For example, when we compare education and gaming as two areas of immense opportunity, the entire smartphone ecosystem has preferred to make considerable investments in gaming than education. "There is hardly any OEM focusing on making devices affordable so that more and more students could benefit from digital means of education. But over the past two years, we have seen several OEMs making gaming smartphones in the affordable segments," the report argued. The result: At 4.9 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for smartphone subscriber growth, India may not have a billion smartphone users even by 2030. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: gaming, education, affordable, market, report, reason, device