I heard whispers of this on National Public Radio, and found this write up on The International Business Times website. The message is simple – in a country where even a glance can be interpreted as treason, express your non-support of the government by STAYING AT HOME ON FRIDAY, the day Ethiopians usually go out and visit with friends, gather together and mingle. Ghandi would smile; this is civil expression at it’s most civil
Let the empty streets speak for you. LOL @ a tyrant making staying at home a crime against the government!
Eritrean bloggers outside of Ethiopia started it, smuggling an old Eritrean phone book out of the country and making calls to acquaintances – and strangers – in Eritrea. People didn’t even have to respond. they could just listen . . . then they developed a robo-call to help them enlarge the number they could reach.
Eritrea is considered one of the continent’s most opaque countries. National elections have not been held in the Horn of Africa country since it gained independence in 1993. Torture, arbitrary detention and severe restrictions on freedom of expression remain routine.
President Isaias Afwerki does not tolerate any independent media, the internet is strictly controlled and Reporters without Borders recently named it 179th out of 179 countries for freedom of expression.
It is illegal to criticise the government, prompting the Eritrean diaspora to set up a campaign to reverse the Arab-style call to take to the streets every Friday by emptying the streets in protest.
“We made phone calls from diaspora to Eritrea,” Meron Estefanos toldIBTimes UK. ”We have a phone catalogue and called random numbers every Friday, telling them to stay at home and think about problems in our country.”
The phone calls “give them [Eritreans within the country] an opportunity to protest without risking too much”, according to Freedom Friday’s coordinator in the UK Selam Kidane.
The activists turned to a computerised auto-dialer called robocall to spread hundreds of thousands of taped messages to Eritrean phones. “It is time to restore our liberty and dignity” messages were sent automatically.
In another message, the mother of renowned political prisoner Aster Yohannes recalls the fate of her daughter, who was arrested in 2003 and has disappeared.
After two years, the movement is finally gaining momentum inside the country.
“Now they trust us inside the country, we have our team in Eritrea that puts out posters and leaflets late at night,” Estefanos said.
“The plan now that we have their trust is asking them to go out and demonstrate.”
About 1,500 Eritreans leave their country every month, according to the United Nations, paying up to 30,000 euros ($39,500) each to seek a new life free of grinding poverty and repression.
Earlier this year, Amnesty International put the spotlight on Eritrean asylum-seekers who are kidnapped from Sudanese refugee camps by the local Rashaida tribe, sold to Bedouin criminals in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula and severely abused while they are held for ransom.
One thousand refugees are held captive in the Sinai, according to reports. About 7,000 people in total may have been tortured and 4,000 may have died as a result of the people-trafficking in humans from 2009 to October 2012, according to recent data. A total of 3,000 people disappeared from 2007-11.
This is on AOL News – information on the first victim from the first blast in the Boston Marathon. This is your victim, bomber, an eight year old boy. His mother is also hospitalized. Hang your head in shame.
Martin Richard was standing near the finish line, waiting for his father to complete the grueling Boston Marathon on Monday, when an explosion took his life.
He was 8 years old and in the third grade.
Neighbor Jane Sherman told WCVB that Martin was a typical little boy, who loved to ride his bike and play baseball.
Martin’s mother, Denise, was hospitalized with “grievous injuries,” The Times of London reported. She reportedly underwent surgery late Monday for an injury to her brain.
His 6-year-old sister, a first grader whose name was not made public, lost her leg in the blast, WHDH reported.
The status of his father, William, has not been released. A third child was reportedly unharmed in the explosion.
Boston Marathon Winners, lost in the aftermath of the explosions:
This is the face of America – welcoming all nations and all races to compete in the Boston Marathon. The winners were Ethiopian and Kenyan, and we celebrate their victories, year after year. Their nationality doesn’t concern us, their race is irrelevant, their politics are their own – they are all welcome to race, runners from all nations.
BOSTON — The Kenyans finally face a challenge to their dominance of the Boston Marathon, and it’s from their East African neighbors.
Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa took the title in the 117th edition of the world’s oldest marathon on Monday, winning a three-way sprint down Boylston Street to finish in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 22 seconds and snap a string of three consecutive Kenyan victories.
“Here we have a relative newcomer,” said Ethiopia’s Gebregziabher Gebremariam, who finished third. “Everything changes.”
In just his second race at the 26.2-mile distance, Desisa finished 5 seconds ahead of Kenya’s Micah Kogo to earn $150,000 and the traditional olive wreath. American Jason Hartmann finished fourth for the second year in a row.
“It was more of a tactical race, the Ethiopian versus the Kenyans. That fight played out very well,” defending champion Wesley Korir, a Kenyan citizen and U.S. resident, said after finishing fifth.
Thank you, Hayfa, you always find the most amazing articles. What I love about this one is that if everything is where it is supposed to be, nobody gets hurt. Only invasive behavior results in . . . .lets hope excruciating pain It also gives an attacker something else to focus on. This invention is a public service.
Rape-aXe: The Anti-Rape Condom
This is so brilliant! An anti-rape female condom invented by Sonette Ehlers.… A South African woman working as a blood technician with the South African Blood Transfusion Service, during which time she met and treated many rape victims. The device, known as The Rape-aXe, is a latex sheath embedded with shafts of sharp, inward-facing microscopic barbs that would be worn by a woman in her vagina like a tampon. If an attacker were to attempt vaginal rape, their penis would enter the latex sheath and be snagged by the barbs, causing the attacker pain during withdrawal and (ideally) giving the victim time to escape. The condom would remain attached to the attacker’s body when he withdrew and could only be removed surgically, which would alert hospital staff and police. This device could assist in the identification and prosecution of rapists.
A medieval device built on hatred of men? Or a cheap, easy-to-use invention that could free millions of South African women from fear of rape, in a country with the world’s worst sexual assault record?
Dubbed the “rape trap”, trademarked “Rapex”, the condom-like device bristling with internal hooks designed to snare rapists has re-ignited controversy over South Africa’s alarming rape rate, even before plans for its production were announced in Western Capethis week.
Some say the inventor, Sonette Ehlers, a former medical technician, deserves a medal, others that she needs help.
The device, concealed inside a woman’s body, hooks onto a rapist during penetration and must be surgically removed.
Ms Ehlers said the rape trap would be so painful for a rapist that it would disable him immediately, enabling his victim to escape; but would cause no long-term physical damage and could not injure the woman.
Some women’s activists call the device regressive, putting the onus on women to address a male problem.
Charlene Smith, an anti-rape campaigner, said it “goes back to the concept of chastity belts” and would incite injured rapists to kill their victims.
“We don’t need these nut-case devices by people hoping to make a lot of money out of other women’s fear,” Ms Smith said.
But Ms Ehlers contends that South Africa’s rape problem is so severe women cannot wait for male attitudes to improve.
“I don’t hate men. I love men. I have not got revenge in mind. All I am doing is giving women their power back,” Ms Ehlers said. “I don’t even hate rapists. But I hate the deed with a passion.”
The United Nations says South Africahas the world’s highest per capita rate of reported rapes – 119 per 100,000 people. Analysts say the total, including unreported rapes, could be nine times higher.
Ms Ehlers sees her invention as particularly attractive to poorer black women, because they often walk long distances through unsafe areas to and from work. She foresees women inserting the device as part of a daily security routine.
She said a majority of women surveyed said they were willing to use the device, which will go into production next year and sell for one rand (20 cents).
Ms Ehlers said she was inspired after meeting a traumatised rape victim who told her, “If only I had teeth down there.”
Last year, we were honored to have a member of the Algerian Seal team at our table for dinner. Together with the French, they got the job done clearing the rats out of Mali in short time.
From today’s BBC News:
Three weeks of French targeted air strikes in northern Mali have left Islamist militants “in disarray”, France’s defence minister has said.
Jean-Yves Le Drian said the jihadists had now scattered, marking a “turning-point” in France’s intervention.
His comments come as the French troops continue to secure Kidal, the last town occupied by militants.
France is preparing to hand over towns it has captured to an African force, which has begun to deploy to Mali.
So far about 2,000 African soldiers, mainly from Chad and Niger, are thought to be on the ground.
It will be the job of the African Union-backed force, the International Support Mission to Mali (Afisma), to root out the al-Qaeda-linked insurgents that have fled into the desert and mountains further north.
Meanwhile, at least two Malian soldiers have been killed when their vehicle hit a landmine south-west of Gao.
Mr Le Drian said that some militants in Mali and been on a “military adventure and have returned home”.
Others had made a “tactical withdrawal to the Adrar des Ifoghas”, the mountainous region east of Kidal covering some 250,000 sq km (96,525 sq miles), he said.
Although this was now a turning-point for France, he said it did not mean that “the military risks and the fighting has ended”.
He also said he backed the idea of sending a UN peacekeeping force to Mali.
The BBC’s Christian Fraser in Paris says the UN Security Council had previously been uncomfortable about deploying a force under a UN mandate, but support is growing.
Envoys believe it would easier to monitor and prevent human rights abuses if the UN could pick and choose which national contingents to use, he says.
A French army spokesman in Bamako, Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel Dosseur, told the BBC French Service that France’s special forces were in Kidal, but the majority of troops were still at the airport.
A heavy sandstorm that had hampered operations on Wednesday was starting to clear, and troops may soon be able to continue their deployment, he said.
Haminy Maiga, who heads the regional assembly in Kidal, said he had witnessed no fighting as French forces entered and two helicopters were patrolling overhead.
Correspondents say the bigger problem is how to manage the concerns of the separatist Tuareg fighters in Kidal – the only city in the north to have a majority ethnic Tuareg population.
Chad’s army is full of experienced desert fighters needed to fight the militants
The secular National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) said its fighters would support the French but would not allow the return of the Malian army, which it accused of “crimes against the civilian population”.
Human rights groups have accused the Malian army of targeting ethnic Tuareg and Arab civilians.
The Tuareg rebels launched the insurgency in October 2011 before falling out with the Islamist militants.
The Islamist fighters extended their control of the vast north of Mali in April 2012, in the wake of a military coup.
An MNLA spokesman told the BBC that its fighters had entered Kidal on Saturday and found no Islamist militants there.
Kidal was until recently under the control of the Ansar Dine Islamist group, which has strong ties to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The Islamic Movement of Azawad (IMA), which recently split from Ansar Dine, had said that it was in control of Kidal.
The IMA, which has Tuareg fighters amongst its members, has also said it rejects “extremism and terrorism” and wants a peaceful solution.
France – the former colonial power in Mali – launched a military operation this month after the Islamist militants appeared to be threatening the south.
Shocking, and sad. What can be worse than serving your country and to be assaulted by a member of your own team? To double that shock and betrayal, to have the team captains bury your injury for the sake of the team?? I thank God for the gals that are taking their cases to civil court and making a stink. Sometimes, that is what it takes to make people pay attention.
I have a friend, a friend in her sixties. She has served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a civilian, and she has had senior officers stalk and attack her. She is disgusted that senior leaders could feel so entitled, and so free from constraints.
I can’t print this whole article here, but it is fascinating. You can read the entire article from Huffpost: HERE.
Active-duty female personnel make up roughly 14.5 percent — or 207,308 members — of the more than 1.4 million Armed Forces, according to the Department of Defense.
One in three military women has been sexually assaulted, compared to one in six civilian women, according to Defense. According to calculations by The Huffington Post, a servicewoman was nearly 180 times more likely to have become a victim of military sexual assault (MSA) in the past year than to have died while deployed during the last 11 years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to the most recent report by the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, 3,192 sexual assaults were reported out of an estimated 19,000 — roughly 52 a day — between Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 31, 2011. The department estimates that only roughly 14 percent of the assaults were reported. The majority of sexual assaults each year are committed against service members by service members, SAPRO reports. While MSA does not affect only women, the office characterizes the “vast majority” of victims as female junior enlists under the age of 25, and the “vast majority” of perpetrators as male, older (under the age of 35) and generally higher-ranking.
Last Tuesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered a sweeping review of all initial military training across the services: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The move resulted in part from mounting pressure at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where at least 43 women have recently come forward as victims of sexual assault. Every aspect of training, from the selection of instructors who directly supervise trainees to the number of female instructors, is under consideration. And a day after Panetta issued the directives, Defense officials revealed that Jeffrey A. Sinclair — a brigadier general with five combat tours behind him — is facing possible courts martial on charges ranging from inappropriate relationships with female subordinates to forcible sodomy.
On Friday, Panetta called the military’s record on prosecuting MSA an “outrage.”
Panetta’s refrain for years has been heartening: “One sexual assault is too many.”
To which Havrilla responds, “This whole concept of ‘zero tolerance,’ it’s just words and no action.”
“You can’t leave. You can’t quit. You can’t walk away.”
We were in the military when the first women were sent to serve with formerly all-male battalions. There was a lot of controversy, and a lot of chagrin among the men. I think those first women were some of the bravest women ever. Almost forty years later, the battle is still being fought. Militaries attract the guys with high testosterone, the guys who don’t think the rules, laws and boundaries apply to them – and slowly, slowly, they have to be brought to understand that yes, the rules apply to them, and that forcible sex with another woman – or man – is OFF LIMITS. Bravo to those brave women who go public and create awareness and disgust for this problem. Evil whens men get away with this despicable crime.
This is a tiny little article in the Qatar Gulf Times:
New curbs on Saudi moral police: reports
Saudi Arabia will curb the powers of its religious police, a newspaper report said yesterday.
“The new system will set a mechanism for the field work of the committee’s men which hands over some of their specialisations to other state bodies, such as arrests and interrogations,” Al Hayat daily quoted religious police chief Sheikh Abdullatiff Abdel Aziz al-Sheikh as saying.
Agents of the body known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice will also be banned from carrying out “searches without prior approval from the governor”, he said.
Okaz daily also reported that the religious police agents will be prohibited from “standing at the entrances of shopping malls to prevent the entry of any person”, referring to attempts by agents to ban women who do not comply with the Islamic dress code and unmarried couples from entering malls.
Sheikh was appointed in January as the new chief of the religious police. Two weeks into his post, he banned volunteers from serving in the commission which enforces the kingdom’s Islamic rules.
In April he went further, prohibiting the religious police from “harassing people” and threatening “decisive measures against violators”.
In June, Sheikh came out strongly against one of his men who ordered a woman to leave a mall because she was wearing nail polish.
The woman had defied the orders as she filmed her argument with the policeman and posted it on YouTube.
Not all women will show this kind of courage and determination when bullied and intimidated by a powerful rapist. Now, she faces the penalty, but her actions have ignited a debate in Turkey. I found this on Huffpost, a re-publication of a CNN story:
A 26-year-old Turkish woman, who was impregnated by her rapist, reportedly shot and beheaded her alleged attacker to protect her honor. The case has forced the country into a new round in the intensifying debate over abortion.
Nevin Yildirim, a mother of two from Turkey’s Yalvac district, faces charges of murder for the August killing of 35-year-old Nurettin Gider. Yildirim, according to CNN, is at least five months pregnant and claims she was rape-impregnated by Gider.
Yildirim told police that Gider, a father of two who was married to her husband’s aunt, first raped her in January, when her husband left town to work a seasonal job.
Yildirim said Gider threatened to kill her children if she alerted anyone to the crime. The rapes allegedly continued over the course of the next several months and Gider reportedly threatened to publish photos he took of Yildirim’s pregnant body if she did not do as he said, Turkish broadcaster DHA reported.
On Aug. 28, Yildirim claims spotted Gider climbing up a wall behind her house and grabbed a rifle that was hanging on the wall.
“I knew he was going to rape me again,” Yildirim said at an Aug. 30 preliminary hearing.
Yildirim allegedly shot Gider twice and chased him from her property. She claimed in court he was armed at the time.
“He fell on the ground. He started cussing,” she said. “I shot his sexual organ this time. He became quiet. I knew he was dead. I then cut his head off.”
Witnesses told police they saw Yildirim walk into the village square, carrying Gider’s bloody head by his hair.
“Don’t talk behind my back, don’t play with my honor,” Yildirim allegedly told witnesses in the square as she threw Gider’s head to the ground. “Here is the head of the man who played with my honor.”
Authorities arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and Yildirim was taken into custody without incident.
“He kept saying that he would tell everyone [about the rape],” Yildirim told authorities, according to Doğan News Agency. “My daughter will start school this year. Everyone would have insulted my children. Now no one can.”
“I saved my honor,” she added. “They will now call [her children] ‘the kids of the women who saved her honor.’”
According to CNN, Yildirim went to a health clinic for an abortion prior to the murder but was turned away because she was 14 weeks pregnant at the time. In Turkey, abortion is only permitted during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Anything beyond that requires a special circumstance.
Turkey’s abortion debate has now been re-kindled as the public prosecutor’s office considers Yildirim’s request. Authorities are waiting for experts to weigh in on her mental stability.
“The extremity of Nevin’s actions show the extent of the trauma the rape has caused,” Dr. Gürsel Öztunalı Kayır, Foundation for Women’s Solidarity, told International Business Times. “We shouldn’t be distracted by the murder; if she wants to have an abortion following months of abuse, she should have the right.”
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, considers abortion “murder” and wants the practice outlawed. Melih Gökçek, mayor of the capital, Ankara, supports the proposed ban, saying a mother who considers abortion should “kill herself instead and not let the child bear the brunt of her mistake,” IBT reported.
Women’s groups in Turkey consider Yildirim a heroine. The case also resonates in the United States, where abortion remains a topic of heated debate.