The Universal Shifts of Consciousness

More Truth About Women

You are not Your Physical Body; You are Not the Physical Matter: You are Energy! And Everything what happened to You, happened for One Good Reason: to Merge Your Energy with the Energies of Others, with the Energies of Earths, with the Energies of Universes! The Culmination of this Mixing Process for this Universe will be in December 2013: the Final Stage of the Universal Shift !

Violet and Pink are New Colors of Earth! Violet and Pink are showing higher vibration, these colors are surounding White Sun! Photo was taken at night behind Arctic Circle !

This website is in english and in russian. Link to Site M
ap listing other articles, books and useful websites:   SITE MAP

This Website is in english and in russian

Announcement - this Page has been modified to be viewable on mobile devices !
Важное Сообщение - эта Страница теперь может быть просмотрена на мобильных телефонах !

It is not important what you were yesterday, but what you are today!



Females being forced into Prostitution

Females-Sorceresses in Castaneda's Books

Admiral Richard Byrd about the role of Women

Статьи о Женщинах на русском

Female-Leaders in Great Britain

Female-Leaders in USA

Female-Leaders in Africa

Alexandra Kollontai- first Woman - Ambassador, Russia

Alien Women and Children

My Correspondence

International Women's Day!

Global Female Political Leaders

My Thoughts on difference between Women and Men

Funny Pictures

Fundamental Truth about human females

A Victimhood Syndrom!

The Ultimate Goal of Women

People Who Eats Sun

Recapitulation, Your Memory Restoration

Carlos Castaneda on difference between Females and Males

Spiritual Connection Between a Female and a Male

Credo Mutwa on the rights of Women and Children

"Matrix 5" trilogy author's attitude towards any female

Jessica Watson

Arizona Wilder

Russian Astronaut - Marina Popovitch

Valentina Tereshkova-Russian Pilot Cosmonaut

Experiences of R.Monroe as a Woman

Happy Marriages

Children - Mothers and Wives

Females and Children of South Osetia

Women are buried alive for choosing husbands

Female Genital Mutilation, Rape, Sale and Child abuse

Girl Amputee's Ballet Performance

Females about Holographic Universe

Naomi Klein

Mars Force: Pat's Story

Nancy Penn Monroe

William Buhlman about Women

Ruth Montgomery - Her Work Continues

Naomi Wolf


Barbara Bartholic

Anna Netrebko, Modern Opera Singer

Insurgents whip Somalis for dancing in public

Females' Equality Websites

Dr. Karla Turner


Meryl Streep

Anna Politkovskaya

First Women Flyers

High Tech Sangoma (healer, wise person) Busts Myths

Articles about Women on Internet

Russian Women

One of my Alters 100 years ago!

These dots on the photo below is  moving Universal Flow of Energy, which I can feel and see with my own eyes in our Centre in Australia !

moving aquamarine energy

Обратите внимание, что такие важные русские слова как Вселенная, Галактика, Планета, Комета, Звезда, Земля, Страна, Душа, Любовь, Гармония
, Жизнь, Эмоция, Семья, Красота, Нежность, Печаль и т.д. - Женского рода, а не Мужского ! Слова как Сознание или Солнце - среднего рода, т.е. мужской и женский род объединены (ANDROGYNOUS) !
Important Russian words: Universe, Galaxy, Planet, Comet, Earth, Country, Star, Soul, Love, Harmony, Life, Emotion, Family, Beauty, Tenderness, Sorrow etc. are of Feminine
gender, not Masculine one, in Russian language ! But words like: Consciousness or Sun are Androgynous in Russian language, means female and male - together !

Females of today and tomorrow

Worried males-politicians - Stock market Crush !

Mannish Women with Higher Knowledge are those, who work whole-heartedly for the Source of All Life (and without expecting awards), they are the real Warriors ! It is aliens, whom Human Women need to blame, because invisible aliens (mainly reptilians) are getting into males' human bodies through the Holes in Human Luminous Spheres and perform rapes, killings and all kinds of violence for thousands of years!
Laws wouldn't help! Women need to detach themselves from Earth's Planetary Game and sincerely attach themselves to the Intent - the most powerful Force in the Universe! Intent to serve the Source of All Life,
Intent to help Androgynous Holographic Old Mother-Universe of White Vibration to depart and the New Daughter-Universe to take over; Intent not to participate in this Planetary Game
and mentally ruin it;
Intent to become ANDROGYNOUS, not to be afraid to lose their human form (body) and conitnue to live in their Energy Bodies on Higher Level of Consciousness, which is more fun; Intent to study Higher Knowledge, which is available on this site ! Then no men or aliens will touch Earth's Females any longer!

Here is a highly recommended extract about how a Mexican teacher-sorcerer (Nagual) was teaching a lesson to a young male (future Nagual Don Juan), to make him to give up his ideas about females' role in life
(which was 'just to serve males'). Don Juan had to wear females' clothes and do women's chores for a month (against his will), to get rid of old upbringing, that females exist
only to care and please males.
Carlos Castaneda "The Power of Silence", p. 56-68, the full book in electonic form is on our link :
Carlos Castaneda 's books - 2

"I've already told you the story of how the Nagual Julian took me to his house, after I was shot, and he tended my wound, until I recovered," don Juan continued. "But I didn't tell you how he dusted my link, how he taught me to stalk myself.
The first thing a Nagual does with his prospective apprentice is to trick him. That is, he gives him a jolt on his Connecting Link to the Spirit. There are two ways of doing this. One is through seminormal channels, which I used with you, and the other is by means of outright Sorcery, which my benefactor used on me."
Don Juan again told me the story of how his benefactor (Nagual Julian) had convinced the people, who had gathered at the road, that the wounded man (Don Juan) was his son. Then he had paid some men to carry , unconscious from shock and loss of blood
don Juan, to his (Nagual Julian's) own house. Don Juan woke up from the shock there days later and found a kind old man and his fat wife tending his wound. The old man said his name was Belisario and that his wife was a famous healer and that both of them were healing his wound. Don Juan told them he had no money, and Belisario suggested, that when he recovered, payment of some sort could be arranged.
Don Juan said, that he was thoroughly confused, which was nothing new to him. He was just a muscular, reckless twenty-year-old Indian, with no brains, no formal education, and a terrible temper. He had no conception of gratitude. He thought
it was very kind of the old man and his wife to have helped him, but his intention was to wait for his wound to heal and then simply vanish in the middle of the night. When he had recovered enough and was ready to flee, old Belisario took him into a room and in trembling whispers disclosed, that the house, where they were staying, belonged to a monstrous man, who was holding him and his wife prisoner. He asked don Juan to help them to regain their freedom, to escape from their captor and tormentor. Before don Juan could reply, a monstrous fish-faced man right out of a horror tale burst into the room, as if he had been listening behind the door. He was greenish-gray, had only one unblinking eye in the middle of his forehead, and was as big, as a door. He lurched (roll, pitch suddenly) at don Juan, hissing like a serpent, ready to tear him apart, and frightened him so greatly, that he fainted
(giving me a jolt).
"His way of giving me a jolt on my Connecting Link with the Spirit was masterful." Don Juan laughed. "My benefactor, of course, had shifted me into Heightened Awareness, prior to the monster's entrance, so that what I actually saw as a monstrous man was what Sorcerers call an Inorganic Being, a formless Energy Field."
Don Juan said, that he knew countless cases, in which his benefactor's devilishness created hilariously embarrassing situations for all his apprentices, especially for don Juan himself, whose seriousness and stiffness made him the perfect subject for his benefactor's didactic (moralising) jokes. He added as an afterthought, that it went without saying, that these jokes entertained his benefactor immensely.
"If you think I laugh at you - which I do - it's nothing, compared with how he laughed at me," don Juan continued. "My devilish benefactor had learned to weep to hide his laughter. You just can't imagine how he used to "cry", when I first began my apprenticeship."
Continuing with his story, don Juan stated, that his life was never the same after the shock of seeing that monstrous man. His benefactor made sure of it. Don Juan explained, that once a Nagual has introduced his prospective disciple, especially his Nagual Disciple, to trickery, he must struggle to assure his compliance (flexibility). This compliance could be of two different kinds. Either the prospective disciple is so disciplined and tuned, that only his decision to join the Nagual is needed, as had been the case with young Talia. Or the prospective disciple is someone with little or no discipline, in which case a Nagual has to expend time and a great deal of labor to convince his disciple (to join him). In don Juan's case, because he was a wild young peasant without a thought in his head, the process of reeling him in, took bizarre turns. Soon after the first jolt, his benefactor gave him a second one by showing don Juan his ability to transform himself. One day his benefactor became a young man. Don Juan was incapable of conceiving of this transformation as anything, but an example of a consummate (skillful) actor's art.
"How did he accomplish those changes?" I asked.
"He was both a magician and an artist," don Juan replied. "His magic was, that he transformed himself by moving his Assemblage Point into the position, that would bring on whatever particular change he desired. And his art was the perfection of his transformations."
"I don't quite understand what you're telling me," I said.
Don Juan said, that Perception is the hinge for everything human is or does, and that Perception is ruled by the location of the Assemblage Point. Therefore, if that point changes positions, man's Perception of the World changes accordingly.
The Sorcerer, who knew exactly, where to place his Assemblage Point, could become anything he wanted.
"The Nagual Julian's proficiency in moving his Assemblage Point was so magnificent, that he could elicit (evoke, draw out) the subtlest transformations," don Juan continued. "When a Sorcerer becomes a crow, for instance, it is definitely a great accomplishment. But it entails a vast and therefore a gross shift of the Assemblage Point. However, moving it to the position of a fat man, or an old man, requires the minutest shift and the keenest knowledge of human nature."
"I'd rather avoid thinking or talking about those things as facts," I said. Don Juan laughed, as if I had said the funniest thing imaginable.
"Was there a reason for your benefactor's transformations?" I asked. "Or was he just amusing himself?"
"Don't be stupid. Warriors don't do anything just to amuse themselves," he replied. "His transformations were strategical. They were dictated by need, like his transformation from old to young. Now and then there were funny consequences,
but that's another matter."
I reminded him, that I had asked before how his benefactor learned those transformations. He had told me then, that his benefactor had a teacher, but would not tell me who.
"That very mysterious Sorcerer, who is our ward
(guard, defence) taught him," don Juan replied curtly (abruptly).
"What mysterious Sorcerer is that?" I asked.
"The Death Defier," he said and looked at me questioningly.
For all the Sorcerers of don Juan's party the Death Defier was a most vivid character. According to them, the Death Defier was a Sorcerer of Ancient Times. He had succeeded in surviving to the present day by manipulating his Assemblage Point, making it move in specific ways to specific locations within his total energy field. Such maneuvers had permitted his Awareness and Life Force to persist. Don Juan had told me about the agreement,  that the Seers of his Lineage had entered into with the Death Defier centuries before. He made gifts to them in exchange for vital energy. Because of this agreement, they considered him their ward (guard, defence) and called him "the Tenant."
Don Juan had explained, that Sorcerers of Ancient Times were expert at making the Assemblage Point move. In doing so they had discovered extraordinary things about Perception, but they had also discovered how easy it was to get lost in aberration (deviation from a proper course). The Death Defier's situation was for don Juan a classic example of an aberration.

Don Juan used to repeat every chance he could, that if the Assemblage Point was pushed by someone, who not only saw it (
the Assemblage Point), but also had enough Energy to move it, it slid, within the Luminous Ball, to whatever location
the pusher directed. Its brilliance was enough to light up the Threadlike Energy Fields it touched. The resulting Perception of the World was complete, but not the same as, our normal perception of everyday life, therefore, Sobriety was crucial to dealing with the moving of the Assemblage Point (of our Spirits). Continuing his story, don Juan said, that he quickly became accustomed to thinking of the old man, who had saved his life, as really a young man masquerading as old. But one day the young man was again the old Belisario don Juan had first met. He and the woman don Juan thought was his wife packed their bags, and two smiling men with a team of mules appeared out of nowhere.
Don Juan laughed, savoring his story. He said, that while the muleteers packed the mules, Belisario pulled him aside and pointed out, that he and his wife were again disguised. He was again an old man, and his beautiful wife was a fat irascible (easily angered) Indian.
"I was so young and stupid, that only the obvious had value for me," don Juan continued. "Just a couple of days before, I had seen his incredible transformation from a feeble (weak, frail) man in his seventies to a vigorous young man in his mid-twenties, and I took his word, that old age was just a disguise. His wife had also changed from a sour, fat Indian to a beautiful slender young woman. The woman, of course, hadn't transformed herself the way my benefactor had. He had simply changed the woman. Of course, I could have seen everything at that time, but Wisdom always comes to us painfully and in driblets."
Don Juan said, that the old man assured him, that his wound was healed although he did not feel quite well yet. He then embraced don Juan and in a truly sad voice whispered, "the monster has liked you so much, that he has released me and my wife from bondage and taken you as his sole (only) servant. I would have laughed at him," don Juan went on, "had it not been for a deep animal growling and a frightening rattle, that came from the monster's rooms."
Don Juan's eyes were shining with inner delight. I (Carlos)  wanted to remain serious, but could not help laughing.
Belisario, aware of don Juan's fright, apologized profusely for the twist of fate, that had liberated him and imprisoned don Juan.
Belisario clicked his tongue in disgust and cursed the monster. He had tears in his eyes when he listed all the chores the Monster wanted done daily.
And when don Juan protested, he confided, in low tones, that there was no way to escape, because the Monster's Knowledge of Witchcraft was unequaled. Don Juan asked Belisario to recommend some line of action. And Belisario went into a long explanation about plans of action being appropriate only if one were dealing with average human beings.
In the human context, we can plan and plot and, depending on luck, plus our cunning and dedication, can succeed. But in the face of the Unknown, specifically don Juan's situation, the only hope of survival was to acquiesce (accept) and understand. Belisario confessed to don Juan in a barely audible murmur, that to make sure the Monster never came after him, he was going to the state of Durango to learn Sorcery. He asked don Juan if he, too, would consider learning Sorcery. And don Juan, horrified at the thought, said, that he would have nothing to do with witches.
Don Juan held his sides laughing and admitted, that he enjoyed thinking about how his benefactor must have relished their interplay. Especially when he himself, in a frenzy of fear and passion, rejected the bona fide (genuine) invitation to learn Sorcery, saying, "I am an Indian. I was born to hate and fear witches."
Belisario exchanged looks with his wife and his body began to convulse (hiding laughter). Don Juan realized, he was weeping silently
, obviously hurt by the rejection. His wife had to prop (help) him up, until he regained his composure.
As Belisario and his wife were walking away, he turned and gave don Juan one more piece of advice. He said, that the Monster abhorred (abominate, regard with horror) women, and don Juan should be on the lookout for a male replacement on the off chance, that the Monster would like him enough to switch slaves. But he should not raise his hopes, because it was going to be years before he could even leave the house.
The Monster liked to make sure his slaves were loyal or at least obedient. Don Juan could stand it no longer. He broke down, began to weep
, and told Belisario, that noone was going to enslave him. He could always kill himself. The old man was very moved by don Juan's outburst and confessed, that he had had the same idea, but, alas, the Monster was able to read his thoughts and had prevented him from taking his own life every time he had tried. Belisario made another offer to take don Juan with him to Durango to learn Sorcery. He said it was the only possible solution. And don Juan told him his solution was like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Belisario began to weep loudly (hiding laughter) and embraced don Juan. He cursed the moment, he had saved the other man's life and swore, that he had no idea they would trade places. He blew his nose, and looking at don Juan with burning eyes, said, "Disguise is the only way to survive. If you don't behave properly, the Monster can steal your Soul and turn you into an idiot, who does his chores, and nothing more. Too bad I don't have time to teach you acting." Then he wept even more (hiding laughter). Don Juan, choking with tears asked him to describe how he could disguise himself. Belisario confided, that the Monster had terrible eyesight, and recommended, that don Juan experiment with various clothes, that suited his fancy. He had, after all, years ahead of him to try different disguises. He embraced don Juan at the door, weeping openly. His wife touched don Juan's hand shyly. And then they were gone.
"Never in my life, before or after, have I felt such terror and despair," don Juan said. "The Monster rattled things inside the house, as if he were waiting impatiently for me. I sat down by the door and whined like a dog in pain. Then I vomited from sheer fear."
Don Juan sat for hours incapable of moving. He dared not leave, nor did he dare go inside. It was no exaggeration to say, that he was actually about to die, when he saw Belisario waving his arms, frantically trying to catch his attention from the other side of the street. Just seeing him again gave don Juan instantaneous relief. Belisario was squatting by the sidewalk watching the house. He signaled don Juan to stay put. After an excruciatingly long time, Belisario crawled a few feet on his hands and knees toward don Juan, then squatted again, totally immobile. Crawling in that fashion, he advanced, until he was at don Juan's side. It took him hours. A lot of people had passed by, but no one seemed to have noticed don Juan's despair or the old man's actions. When the two of them were side by side, Belisario whispered, that he had not felt right leaving don Juan like a dog tied to a post. His wife had objected, but he had returned to attempt to rescue him. After all, it was thanks to don Juan, that he had gained his freedom. He asked don Juan in a commanding whisper whether he was ready and willing to do anything to escape this. And don Juan assured him, that he would do anything. In the most surreptitious
manner, Belisario handed don Juan a bundle of clothes. Then he outlined his plan. Don Juan was to go to the area of the house farthest from the Monster's rooms and slowly change his clothes, taking off one item of clothing at a time, starting with his hat, leaving the shoes for last. Then he was to put all his clothes on a wooden frame, a mannequin-like structure he was to build, efficiently and quickly, as soon as he was inside the house.
The next step of the plan was for don Juan to put on the only disguise, that could fool the Monster: the clothes in the bundle. Don Juan ran into the house and got everything ready. He built a scarecrow-like frame with poles he found in the back of the house, took off his clothes and put them on it. But when he opened the bundle he got the surprise of his life. The bundle consisted of women's clothes!
"I felt stupid and lost," don Juan said, "and was just about to put my own clothes back on when I heard the inhuman growls of that monstrous man. I had been reared to despise Women, to believe their only function was to take care of Men. Putting on Women's clothes to me was tantamount (the same as) to becoming a woman. But my fear of the Monster was so intense, that I closed my eyes and put on the damned clothes."
I looked at don Juan, imagining him in women's clothes. It was an image so utterly ridiculous, that against my will I broke into a belly laugh. Don Juan said, that when old Belisario, waiting for him across the street, saw don Juan in
disguise, he began to weep uncontrollably (laugh). Weeping, he guided don Juan to the outskirts of town, where his wife was waiting with the two muleteers. One of them, a very daringly asked Belisario if he was stealing the Weird Girl (don Juan) to sell her to a Whorehouse. The old man wept (laughed) so hard, he seemed on the verge of fainting. The young muleteers did not know what to do, but Belisario's wife, instead of commiserating (feeling pity for Belisario), began to scream with laughter. And don Juan could not understand why. The party began to move in the dark. They took little-traveled trails and moved steadily north. Belisario did not speak much. He seemed to be frightened and expecting trouble. His wife fought with him all the time and complained, that they had thrown away their chance for freedom by taking don Juan along.
Belisario gave her strict orders not to mention it again for fear the muleteers would discover, that don Juan was in disguise. He cautioned don Juan, that because he did not know how to behave convincingly like a woman, he should act as if he were a girl, who was a little touched in the head. Within a few days don Juan's fear subsided a great deal. In fact, he became so confident, that he could not even remember having been afraid. If it had not been for the clothes he was wearing,
he could have imagined the whole experience had been a bad dream. Wearing women's clothes under those conditions, entailed, of course, a series of drastic changes. Belisario's wife coached don Juan, with true seriousness, in every aspect of being a Woman. Don Juan helped her cook, wash clothes, gather firewood. Belisario shaved don Juan's head and put a strong-smelling medicine on it, and told the muleteers, that the Girl had had an infestation of lice. Don Juan said, that since he was still a beardless youth it was not really difficult to pass as a woman. But he felt disgusted with himself, and with all those people, and, above all, with his fate. To end up wearing women's clothes and doing women's chores was more, than he could bear. One day he had enough. The muleteers were the final straw. They expected and demanded, that this strange Girl wait on them hand and foot. Don Juan said, that he also had to be on permanent guard, because they would make passes.
I (Carlos) felt compelled to ask a question: "Were the muleteers in cahoots with your benefactor?
"No," he replied and began to laugh uproariously. "They were just two nice people, who had fallen temporarily under his (benefactor's) spell.
He had hired their mules to carry medicinal plants and told them, that he would pay handsomely, if they would help him kidnap a young woman."
The scope of the Nagual Julian's actions staggered my imagination. I pictured don Juan fending off (turn aside) sexual advances and hollered (yell) with laughter. Don Juan continued his account. He said, that he told the old man sternly, that the masquerade had lasted long enough, the men were making sexual advances. Belisario nonchalantly (casually) advised him to be more understanding, because men will be men, and began to weep (laugh) again, completely baffling don Juan, who found himself furiously defending Women. He, don Juan, was so passionate about the plight (situation of difficulty) of Women, that he scared himself. He told Belisario, that he was going to end up in worse shape, than he would have, had
he stayed as the Monster's slave. Don Juan's turmoil increased when the old man wept (laughed) uncontrollably and mumbled inanities (absurd silly remarks): life was sweet, the little price one had to pay for it was a joke, the monster would devour don Juan's soul and not even allow him to kill himself.
"Flirt with the muleteers," he advised don Juan in a conciliatory (peaceful) tone and manner. "They are primitive peasants. All they want is to play, so push them back, when they shove you. Let them touch your leg. What do you care?" And again, he wept (laughed) unrestrainedly. Don Juan asked him why he wept like that.
"Because you are perfect for all this," he said and his body twisted with the force of his sobbing (laughing). Don Juan thanked him for his good feelings and for all the trouble he was taking on his account. He told Belisario he now felt safe and wanted to leave.
"The Art of Stalking is learning all the quirks (oddities) of your disguise," Belisario said, paying no attention to what don Juan was telling him. "And it is to learn them so well, noone will know you are disguised. For that you need to be ruthless, cunning, patient, and sweet."
Don Juan had no idea what Belisario was talking about. Rather than finding out, he asked him for some men's clothes. Belisario was very understanding. He gave don Juan some old clothes and a few pesos. He promised don Juan, that his disguise would always be there in case he needed it, and pressed him vehemently (intensity of emotion) to come to Durango with him to learn Sorcery and free himself from the Monster for good. Don Juan said no and thanked him. So Belisario bid him goodbye and patted him on the back repeatedly and with considerable force. Don Juan changed his clothes and asked Belisario for directions. He answered, that if don Juan followed the trail north, sooner or later he would reach the next town. He said, that the two of them might even cross paths again, since they were all going in the same general direction - away from the Monster. Don Juan took off as fast as he could, free at last. He must have walked four or five miles,
before he found signs of people. He knew, that a town was nearby and thought, that perhaps he could get work there, until he decided where he was going. He sat down to rest for a moment, anticipating the normal difficulties a stranger would find in a small out-of-the-way town, when from the corner of his eye he saw a movement in the bushes by the mule trail. He felt someone was watching him. He became so thoroughly terrified, that he jumped up and started to run in the
direction of the town; the Monster jumped at him lurching out to grab his neck. He missed by an inch. Don Juan screamed, as he had never screamed before, but still had enough self-control to turn and run back in the direction, from which he had come.
While don Juan ran for his life, the Monster pursued him, crashing through the bushes only a few feet away. Don Juan said, that it was the most frightening sound he had ever heard. Finally he saw the mules moving slowly in the distance, and he yelled for help. Belisario recognized don Juan and ran toward him displaying overt (open) terror. He threw the bundle of women's clothes at don Juan shouting, "Run like a Woman, you fool."
Don Juan admitted, that he did not know how  to run like a Woman, but he did it. The Monster stopped chasing him. And Belisario told him to change quickly, while he held the Monster at bay. Don Juan joined Belisario's wife and the smiling muleteers without looking at anybody. They doubled back and took other trails. Nobody spoke for days; then Belisario gave him daily lessons. He told don Juan, that Indian Women were practical and went directly to the heart of things, but that they were also very shy, and that, when challenged, they showed the physical signs of fright in shifty eyes, tight mouths, and enlarged nostrils. All these signs were accompanied by a fearful stubbornness, followed by shy laughter. He made don Juan practice his womanly behavior skills in every town they passed through. And don Juan honestly believed he was teaching him to be an actor. But Belisario insisted, that he was teaching him the Art of Stalking. He told don Juan, that Stalking was an Art applicable to everything, and that there were four steps to learning it: ruthlessness, cunning, patience, and sweetness..."

Females-Seers of Don Juan lineage could easily defend themselves: they knew all kinds of forms of Martial Arts ! That I will recommend mordern European (esp. German) females: to learn how to defend themselves against any attacker ! Below are some videos about such girls:


Nerdy girl beats up guys at the gym - Maxmantv  - May 20, 2015. Female Muay Thai champion pretends to be a nerd and takes the phrase 'fight like a girl' to a whole new level.

Little KARATE Girl whips man in Elevator

Little asian girl beats bigger, stronger, and trained boys in jiu jitsu with rediculous techniques!!

160llbs Girl vs 300lbs Man

Amazing Army Girl Fights Male 1vs1

Ukraine crisis: Violent brawl at Kiev parliament - video
8 April 2014
Tempers flared and punches were thrown in Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday as opposing nationalist and separatist factions traded blows. The punch up was preceded by a heated debate about recent events in several Ukrainian cities, where pro-Russian activists seized government buildings. Tensions remain high between Kiev and Moscow following the recent referendum and annexation of Crimea - a move condemned as illegal by the West and Ukraine.

Ukraine MPs throw punches in parliament  - video
15 November 2016
A fight broke out between two MPs in Ukraine when one party leader accused another of working with the Kremlin. Opposition Party leader Yuriy Boyko jumped up and threw punches at Oleh Lyashko, the leader of the Radical Party.

Ukraine names woman, 23, anti-corruption head
23 November 2016
Ukraine's "Lustration" committee aims to purge officials tainted by corruption. A 23-year-old lawyer has been given the task of leading Ukraine's anti-corruption drive, the second major appointment of a young woman in weeks. Anna Kalynchuk's promotion has provoked consternation among some Ukrainians who say she is unqualified and too young.
She will direct Ukraine's department of "lustration", which aims to purge officials tainted by corruption. Corruption was a key complaint of protesters who forced President Viktor Yanukovych from power in February 2014. Ms Kalynchuk's appointment comes days after Anastasia Deyeva, 24, was named by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov as deputy minister, one of Ukraine's top police and security posts. That announcement was met with anger, which only intensified when nude photos of Ms Deyeva were shared on social media.
Anastasia Deyeva is Ukraine's youngest ever deputy minister. As well as the private photos shared on social media, she has also been the subject of a more tasteful photo-shoot in Ukrainian lifestyle website Style Insider. Interior Minister Avakov defended the appointment as a breath of fresh air, but that has not satisfied those who wonder whether there were other factors behind her appointment. Kiev political analyst Vadim Karasyov told Associated Press that Ukrainian politics increasingly resembled "a circus show in which clowns come to succeed frustrated professionals". Why so young and are they qualified? The majority of Ukraine's ministers are now in their thirties, ever since a reshuffle in February. The Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, is only 38. In a country as ridden with corruption as Ukraine, the promotion of younger talent could be seen as an antidote to the wasted decades associated with older politicians. Despite the outcry in the social media about age and lack of experience, these two young women are well suited to their posts. Anna Kalynchuk was already deputising for the previous head of the anti-corruption department, Tatiana Kozachenko. As a freshly qualified lawyer, two years ago she was engaged in setting up the very institution she now temporarily heads. On her Facebook page, she said she was prepared for claims that she was too young and inexperienced for the post. Anastasia Deyeva is Ukraine's all-time youngest deputy minister. Anastasia Deyeva was appointed on 11 November, having acted as an assistant to the former deputy minister, a Georgian who resigned from her position earlier this year. In a recent interview, her predecessor as deputy minister was full of praise for her abilities as a negotiator.
What's the bigger picture?
At the heart of the storm is the frustration of ordinary Ukrainians at the pace of the drive to clean up Ukrainian politics. Perception of corruption is worse in Ukraine than in Russia, according to Transparency International. Little more than two weeks ago, the charismatic governor of the Odessa region, former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, resigned, accusing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of backing corrupt officials who, he said, were undermining his reform efforts in Odessa. His resignation followed that of the Odessa police chief, fellow Georgian Giorgi Lortkipanidze. Only days before, top officials were forced to reveal their huge wealth - hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and collections of luxury items - under new anti-corruption rules. None was accused of criminality, but it was a stark illustration of the trappings of power and the gulf between some officials and the mass of Ukrainians. The lustration department says hundreds of officials have been forced to resign over corruption, but Ukraine's corruption problem clearly still remains crippling.

Storm as woman, 24, gets key Ukraine job
23 November 2016
Anastasia Deyeva is Ukraine's youngest ever deputy minister. Political storms are nothing new to Ukraine, but unusually the latest surrounds a young woman who has landed one of the country's top police and security jobs. Anastasia Deyeva, 24, has been appointed a deputy interior minister, unprecedented for anyone of her age. And some Ukrainians think she is not qualified for the job. There's nothing wrong about a woman being an adviser, especially if she's pretty and smart," was one typical comment on Facebook. "But it's very wrong if she's that young and has no experience. Or the wrong kind of experience. As debate swirled around Ms Deyeva's appointment, another young woman was selected for the highly charged job of running a campaign to purge the government of corrupt officials. Anna Kalynchuk, 23, studied law and was already part of the government's anti-corruption department. Ms Deyeva had to deal with closer scrutiny than most public officials when nude photos of her were posted online. More tasteful pictures have since appeared on Ukrainian lifestyle website Style Insider. Ms Deyeva's appointment unleashed a storm of criticism. Nothing to do with her work, insisted Ms Deyeva. She defended her credentials, telling one interviewer (in Russian) she had exactly the right experience for the job. She was an aide to an MP, worked for a Swedish energy company and was considered suitably qualified enough to be offered an interior ministry job in 2015. But her promotion to become Ukraine's youngest ever deputy minster unleashed a torrent of criticism.
"I knew that I'd end up in the limelight, that there would be criticism and biased commentary. But I never expected such vile attacks," she says. The new deputy interior minister has been given strong backing from her boss. Ms Deyeva's boss, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, is firmly behind her: "The main thing people have against her is that she's young," he wrote on his Facebook page (in Russian), adding that the criticism was based on outdated attitudes. "In the Soviet tradition, this sort of job was for a monster, but we've hired a girl. Maybe so, only we do things differently in my ministry," he said. He is not alone in thinking it is time for Ukraine to move on. "I am extremely glad that you're one generation younger than me," wrote Denis Kazvan, formerly an interior ministry adviser. "People like you do not need to spend 40 years wandering through the desert to get rid of the Soviet gene of slavery. People like you are free inside."

100 Women 2016: The Pakistani woman defying her family - video
24 November 2016
Naema may not seem rebellious in what she wants. But in a conservative Pakistani family, her desire for independence has seen her come under attack and her car vandalised. As part of the BBC's 100 Women season, we meet a woman engaged in small acts of defiance

100 Women 2016: Are Mexican women less corrupt than men? - video

WomenAreInMexicoPoliceforceNow2016.jpg  WomenAreInMexicoPoliceforceRosa&Judith.jpg  WomenAreInMexicoPoliceforceJudith&HerSon.jpg
24 Nov 2016
Doling out fines was traditionally an opportunity for police to make a little extra money. Corruption in Mexico's police force has become such an endemic problem, that in Mexico State they have been looking for drastic solutions. So far, they appear to be working. The officers in Mexico State's Transit Police are dressed smartly in black trousers, orange and black shirts and smart black caps. A pair of white gloves hang from their waistbands, along with a ticket machine ready to dole out fines to motorists on the wrong side of the law. Most officers have also added a personal touch to their uniform - whether it is beautifully manicured nails with French polish, or smoky eye shadow, they have spared no effort in looking tip-top for their job. There has been a small revolution at Mexico State's Transit Department. Five years ago, authorities got rid of every man and decided only women should do the job because they are more trustworthy. There are now nearly 400 women in the force. Woman police commanders with squadron of female officers behind her.
There are now exclusively women in the Transit Police for Mexico State. Corruption is a massive problem in Mexico - it costs the country billions of dollars a year and gives Mexico a bad reputation. Paying a bribe or a "mordida" is the equivalent of paying a 14% tax for an average household, according to a report by Transparency International.
In Mexico State, the country's most populous and one of the poorest, it is an even bigger problem than elsewhere. Out on patrol with some of the team, Judith Morales Garduno is behind the wheel, and accompanying her is Rosa Baeza Pena. In charge of issuing fines on this shift, Rosa's dazzling pink eye shadow, matching lipstick and nails stand out against her mostly black uniform. "Some drivers are aggressive and feel uncomfortable with a woman giving them a fine," Judith says. "They're used to being the strong, powerful one - controlling." But, she says, these are all life experiences and help her grow. The job has taught her to be stronger emotionally. As a mum working long hours and looking after her son, it can be a struggle. But her eight-year-old boy is proud of what his mum does for a living, she says with a huge smile. Judith and Roa, ready to go on patrol. Judith with her son Angel. Angel is proud of what his mother Judith does for a living. The first offender of the day is a taxi driver who is not wearing a seatbelt. Rosa hands out a $20 (£16) fine which, if you pay on the spot, is reduced to $6. It may not be his day, but Pascual Monsenor is still pretty positive. "Things have improved," he says, as he waits to receive his fine. "Man to man, corruption is easier. The treatment you get from women is different."
Women in charge
The director of Transit Police for Mexico State is Rosalba Sanchez Velazquez. She has been in the police for 25 years and was made head of the force in 2011 when the women-only policy was implemented. Although there is some evidence that women can be good for policing, it is not the whole story, experts say.
"A study was done which showed that a woman is more responsible and knows what happens if she does something bad," she says. "There were lots of complaints about corruption so the governor took the decision to create this unit made up just of women. For every 100 complaints that there used to be, now there's one or two. What we have seen with the police is that only three in 10 men pass police vetting the first time, whereas seven out of 10 women pass," says Maria Elena Morera, a public security activist. "So economically, it is better to employ women, because you are going to be able to recruit much quicker."
Judith directing the traffic. Rosa and Judith helping in an accident. Women can be less corrupt simply because they are new to a role, some critics say. Women do seem to be less corrupt," she says. "But it's an issue that is far more complex than the differences between men and women. It's a structural issue whereby we need to change the way institutions do things. Women can behave in less corrupt ways simply because they are new to a role, says Prof Anne-Marie Goetz. "Women are often very keen to impress and to demonstrate that they perform with integrity," she argues. "Other formerly excluded social groups do this too; lower caste groups in Indian local government perform better, for example.
"But corruption really does not come down to identity; it is about opportunities and incentives or the opposite - penalties. It is not right to employ women as political cleaners. Women should be included in the workforce for reasons of gender equality and social justice, not because there is some expected efficiency pay-off."
Over time, as the women get more settled into the job, they could become corrupt too. Most people in Mexico agree people pay bribes or receive them because they can. Impunity rates are more than 90% and even when people are caught, nothing happens. Machismo versus corruption. Mexican culture is very macho - the traditional roles of men and women are much more pronounced here. And some say an initiative like this does not help. What I find really problematic about this idea is that you are reinforcing gender stereotypes," says Ximena Andion, the executive director of the Simone de Beauvoir Leadership Institute. Because of the roles that women have played in society, mostly as caretakers and in nurturing positions, they tend to think about the social wellbeing of society and I think that is one of the reasons why they probably will be less corrupt," she says. "But I think that comes from their experiences and the roles they've played in life. I don't think it is inherently part of your sex, of being a woman."
Much of what Transit Police officers do needs empathy and calm. After stopping several drivers for not wearing seatbelts, Judith and Rosa come across a road traffic accident.
It is a hit and run involving a motorcycle and a truck. While Judith moves the traffic on, Rosa puts to use what she calls her caring side to calm the victim. But can we conclude that these stereotypically feminine qualities will help deal with corruption?
"After working on gender and leadership for more than 20 years I was surprised to see how little research there is on the impact women can have on corruption", says Kristin Haffert, from Project Mine the Gap, an organisation that promotes the benefits of a gender inclusive workforce. "Because of this we've decided to do an impact study on this policy in Mexico State. I'm convinced that women are less corrupt and this may be about a combination of factors but I've seen around the world women bringing a different approach to problems and we also know women are more risk adverse," she says. Many experts believe women have just had less time to develop corrupt patterns in public institutions. There is still much research to be done to see if women can be a weapon in the fight against corruption.

Mexican Senator Ana Gabriela Guevara beaten by men after road crash

Mexican  Senator - Ana Gabriela Guevara was beaten up by 4 men

Ana Gabriela Guevara - a  World Champion
13 December 2016
Ana Gabriela Guevara posted a picture of herself after the beating. Mexican Senator Ana Gabriela Guevara, 39, is in hospital after being beaten up by four men following a traffic collision near Mexico City. Ms Guevara was riding her motorcycle on Sunday evening when a car hit her and caused her to fall, she said. Ms Guevara, a former Olympic medal winner, said the men in the car got out and hit her in the ribs and the head. She said the attack had been "cowardly and vile" and that the car had rammed her on purpose. She said the men had insulted her for being a woman and a motorcyclist. Ms Guevara, an Olympic-medal winning athlete before entering politics, has reported the incident to the police.
Mexican runner Ana Gabriela Guevara celebrates her gold medal for the 400m, 25 July 2007 during the Pan American games in Rio de Janeiro. She posted a photo of herself on Twitter looking bruised after having surgery on her face with the hashtag #bastadeviolence (#NoMoreViolence). Violence against women is a major problem in Mexico and across Latin America, where there have been mass protests demanding authorities do more to protect women from aggression.

The former sex worker who set up a retirement home in Mexico City
31 January 2017
After years of working the streets of Mexico City, Carmen Munoz wondered what happened to sex workers like her when they got old - so she campaigned to set up a retirement home.
It was on the historic Plaza Loreto in Mexico City - surrounded by buildings that date back to the 16th Century - that Carmen Munoz set out on her path as a sex worker. She had come to the city looking for work and had been told that the priest at the Santa Teresa la Nueva Church sometimes found jobs for domestic workers. She was 22, illiterate, and had seven children to feed - including one whom she carried in her arms. For four days she anxiously waited to see the priest, but when she finally succeeded he gave her no help and sent her away. "He only told me that there was tons of work, and to look for it around the area," she recalls. "I left crying because it hurt me deeply to hear the priest talk that way." At that moment a woman approached Munoz to console her. "She said to me: 'That man over there says he'll give you 1,000 pesos if you go with him,'" Munoz remembers. At the time it seemed a fortune, although at today's exchange rate - taking into account a 1993 revaluation when one new peso was valued at 1,000 old pesos - it is barely five US cents. "I said: 'I've never seen 1,000 pesos all in one place - where am I going with him?' "She said: 'To a room.' And I said: 'A room? How will I know what work to do?'
"'No!' she said: 'You don't understand, to a hotel.' "I asked: 'What's a hotel?'"
The woman told her bluntly what she would have to do. When Munoz understood, she was shocked. "Oh senorita no, no, not that!" she said. But the woman replied: "You prefer to give it to your husband who doesn't even provide enough money for soap to wash, than to give it to others who will provide for your children?" Feeling desperate, she went with the man. He gave her the 1,000 pesos as promised but said he wanted nothing in return. He didn't want to exploit her desperation, he said, and as she cried he pressed the money into her hand. Perhaps he knew she would be back. The following day, Munoz's despair had turned into defiance. She returned to the same corner in Plaza Loreto thinking to herself: "From now on, my children won't go hungry any more." Casa Xochiquetzal, Shelter for Elderly Retired Sex Workers, Mexico City, Mexico - Aug 2013. Soledad, a resident of Casa Xochiquetzal, in her bedroom. For the next 40 years she made her living as a sex worker on the corners of the Plaza and surrounding streets. The area is known as the Merced - 106 bustling blocks that form part of a Unesco World Heritage Site, containing some of the city centre's oldest buildings, its main commercial hub, and the biggest of the city's seven red light districts. There is at least one seedy hotel on every block. I realised I had worth, that someone would pay to be with me. Carmen Munoz, Former sex worker.
"When I first entered sex work I was dazzled by the money," says Munoz. "I realised I had worth, that someone would pay to be with me, when the father of my children told me that I was worth nothing and that I was very ugly. But working on the streets took its toll. Both the authorities and pimps demanded money. Beatings and sexual harassment were common, and she became addicted to drugs and alcohol. Yet, despite all this, she is grateful. "Thanks to sex work I was able to take care of my kids and provide them with a roof over their heads - a dignified place to live," she says. And years later, she was able to provide a home for others too. Luchita, a resident of Casa Xochiquetzal, puts on make-up in her bedroom at the shelter. One night, she passed by a dirty, moving tarpaulin on the side of the street. "I went over to it and pulled it up, thinking there were going to be children underneath," she says. What she found instead were three elderly women huddled together for warmth. She recognised them as fellow sex workers. "It hurts you, it hurts you as a human being to see them like that," says Munoz. She helped the women up, bought them coffee, and got them a room in a cheap hotel. It made her realise how many elderly women were working in the Plaza. Once their looks had faded, because of their advancing years and the hard life on the streets, many ended up destitute. Their families didn't want them so they had nowhere to go. Munoz became determined to do something about it. Listen: Carmen tells Outlook why she wanted to help women such as Marbella Aguilar. For the next 13 years she lobbied the city authorities to provide a retirement home for elderly and homeless sex workers. With the support of several well-known artists, neighbours from the Merced and fellow sex workers, she finally persuaded them. The city gave them a large 18th Century building, just a few blocks from Plaza Loreto. The women's feeling of elation when they first walked through the doors was immeasurable. "It was an amazing experience," Munoz says. "We cried with joy, laughed and shouted: 'Wow, we now have a home!'". Norma, a resident of Casa Xochiquetzal, rests in her bedroom. It took a lot of work to clean up the building, a former boxing museum, but in 2006 the first women moved in. They named the shelter Casa Xochiquetzal, after the Aztec goddess of women's beauty and sexual power. When I leave the Merced's cacophonous streets and enter Casa Xochiquetzal, the women are listening to music. Jewellery and flower-making workshops are under way and the smell of baking fills the air - a dozen residents are busy baking cakes. While teaching the women new skills, Casa Xochiquetzal also aims to improve their health and well-being by providing self-esteem workshops, medical check-ups and counselling. Residents of the Casa Xochiquetzal celebrate Mexico's Bicentennial Celebration - Aug 2013. Marbella Aguilar's room off the central courtyard is filled with books - her favourite authors are Pablo Neruda, Leo Tolstoy and Franz Kafka. "Books have been my refuge since the age of nine," she says. As a child, nearly 60 years ago, her parents threw her out. Fortunately another woman took her in but when she died, Aguilar - now 16 - had to find the rent and pay for her studies by herself. When this proved impossible, she began to sell her body. "There was nothing else I could do," she says. Through a mixture of jobs and occasional sex work, Aguilar managed to support her own three children through school. But when a teenage daughter died of leukaemia, she fell into a deep depression, could not work and was thrown out of her home for failing to pay the rent. A woman can lose her honour, but never her dignity. At this point Casa Xochiquetzal rescued her and she now makes money selling jewellery in nearby markets. "This house taught me that my life is worth a lot, that I am as dignified as any other woman," she says. "Now I say that a woman can lose her honour, but never her dignity." Her only sadness is that her surviving children no longer speak to her. Canela and Norma, both residents of Casa Xochiquetzal, at the shelter. There are currently 25 other elderly or homeless women living in Casa Xochiquetzal - aged from 55 to their mid-80s. Though many have retired, some still work the streets. Over the past 11 years, more than 250 sex workers have been given shelter here. There have been big challenges though. Casa Xochiquetzal's finances are precarious - its grant from the city government has been cut back and it is reliant on charitable donations. María Isabel, a resident of Casa Xochiquetzal, in her bedroom. On top of that, not everyone gets along. Although the women are friends and roommates now, some were formerly competitors and enemies on the streets. "We have been so used, abused, so beaten, and so marginalised, that we are almost always on edge," explains Munoz. "We have our nails out, ready to attack if we are attacked." But disagreements happen in any family, Aguilar says. "Here we have been taught to have respect for each other, that there are things worth fighting for - and that brings harmony to the house. And if not harmony, at least a sense of peace, and the reassurance that they will not die uncared-for on the streets. We deserve a place where we spend the last days of our lives with dignity and tranquillity," says Munoz. One day she expects to move in herself.

Mexico town women vote locally for first time

Mexican Women Vote for the first time in 2016
22 September 2016
Women of Guevea de Humboldt, Mexico, queue up for first local election vote. The women have never been permitted to vote in mayoral elections before. Women in a community in southern Mexico have voted in local elections for the first time, after winning a three-year battle for the right to choose a mayor and councillors alongside their male relatives. Women have had the vote in Mexican presidential, general and regional elections since 1953, but the persistence of traditional law in parts of Oaxaca state means many towns have men-only voter lists for local polls, El Universal newspaper reports. But in 2013, a group of 11 women in the town of Guevea de Humboldt successfully challenged the law in a regional electoral court. Oaxaca's state assembly decided against re-running that year's election because of "local conflicts", Reforma newspaper says. Instead it appointed an interim administration, and fresh elections were finally announced for this week. About 500 women voted in the town of 5,000 people, and three women stood for a council seat. Catalina Martinez Jimenez is, at 75, one of the oldest women to vote, and made it to the polling station with the help of her son and a makeshift walking stick. "This is a miracle of God," she told reporters. Another newly-enfranchised pensioner called Gliseria said it was hard to believe that the women of Guevea could choose their own mayor at last. She said she would take a break from making tortillas to cast her vote later, adding: "This may be my only time, because who knows whether I'll be around for the next one." But not all the town's women turned out to vote. Reforma says some object to voting by ballot, insisting that only the traditional method of show of hands will do.

Why Star Wars's Daisy Ridley joined forces with a teenage Mongolian girl

16 December 2016
The film follows 13-year-old Aisholpan as she breaks centuries of tradition. After becoming a global star for playing Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, actress Daisy Ridley has, at the age of 24, produced her first film - after she was told its subject, a female eagle hunter in Mongolia, would "remind her of Rey". That film, The Eagle Huntress, directed by British journalist Otto Bell, has now made more than $1.5m (£1.2m) at the US box office in six weeks and is among the 15 documentaries in the running for this year's Oscars. The real-life story, narrated by Ridley, follows the then 13-year-old Aisholpan as she trains with her father to become the first female eagle hunter in 12 generations of her family, breaking the centuries-old tradition that says the skill is handed down from father to son. "When I was first sent the film, I ended up curled into a ball, crying and then calling my mum," Ridley recalls. " I was just completely blown away. And so I just had to call Otto and say, 'how can I help you?'"
Nurgaiv Rys, Aisholpan and Daisy Ridley attend a special screening of The Eagle Huntress. Daisy Ridley said that Aisholpan's relationship with her father reminded her of her own family. Bell remembers that both he and the film's other executive producer, Morgan Spurlock, called the resilient and independent Aisholpan "a real life Rey" - but Ridley says that was not why she got on board. "It just reminded me of me and my own relationship with my dad, and how unflinching he was in his support of me wanting to become an actress," she explains. "That to me is the real heart of the film. I think people will realise the hidden gem of the film is this family and their relationships with each other. However, this little girl, Aisholpan, is genuinely inspirational. People are very kind about me as a role model, but all I do is play characters. This little girl is breaking down hundreds of years of gender disparity and she doesn't think she is doing anything huge. I think this film is going to affect many girls."
Aisholpan and Otto Bell. Director Otto Bell tracked Aisholpan down after seeing photographs of her online. Otto Bell set off for Mongolia on a whim two years ago after photographs of Aisholpan and an eagle surfaced on the BBC website under the headline A 13-year-old Eagle Huntress in Mongolia. "I tracked down the family eventually - it's hard, because they are nomadic - and Aisholpan's father Nurgaiv said, 'Well, today we are going to capture an eagle for Aisholpan, are you interested in filming that?'
"So the first day's filming was watching Aisholpan climb down a rocky crevice on a single length of rope, down to an eagle's nest. It was a health and safety nightmare."
The film also documents Aisholpan becoming the first female to ever complete in the region's annual eagle hunting festival, before taking her eagle for its first kill onto the icy steppes in conditions of -25C. Bell says Aisholpan was "treated with some pretty ugly derision from the elders to start with". He adds: "Her father tried to insulate her from the worst of it. But now they can see she is actually the real deal, that she really is a huntress, there's a lot more acceptance." Aisholpan's story could also become a major animated movie. Daisy Ridley comments: "She takes it all in her stride. I just have huge respect for the way she goes about everything. She barely has a presence on social media, she does it because she wants to, not because she wants to be recognised for it. "In a world where so much is about what you look like, this film is about her dreams and her passion. It's about her soul, and that's wonderful in a world full of superficial images." The rights to The Eagle Huntress have been sold to Hollywood to make the story into an animated film, and as profit participants in the documentary, Aisholpan's family now has enough money for her to achieve her other ambition - to become a surgeon. Otto Bell says he would "like to see the film in schools 20 years from now, telling girls and boys of what they can achieve if they put their minds to it". The Eagle Huntress is in cinemas in the UK from Friday. Ridley agrees there is a valuable message there for female pupils. "When I was growing up, I didn't feel stereotyped, I went to a school heavily weighted towards girls and my parents were wonderful," she says. "Yet there is sometimes a hesitation with girls reaching out for what we want. But then you have Aisholpan, not even questioning whether she can do it or not. Could I have done all this at 13? Absolutely not."
"She really is dauntless," Bell confirms. "There's a real duality to her character, because in some ways she's a teenager who loves to giggle with her friends and paint her nails. But as soon, as she's with her eagle, she becomes this steely character determined to win. When you see her ploughing through the snow, with this heavy burden of a bird, she inspired us all, despite the horrendous conditions, to actually finish the film."

Queen of Katwe Premiers in Joburg

"The Queen of Katwe"

Video - Gillian Anderson: 'Slavery a $150bn business'
1 December 2016
Gillian Anderson has spoken at the Trust Women Conference anti-slavery event hosted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Video - British woman 'sex slave for 13 years'
29 December 2016
Victims of slavery can be British - the story of one such woman is told in the memoir Secret Slave. Under the pseudonym Anna Ruston, she writes about meeting a taxi driver she calls Malik when she was 15.

100 Women 2016: A year of street campaigns
21 November 2016
Millions have taken to the streets and to social media to campaign for women's issues this year.

2016's female fightback ... in hashtags - video
28 December 2016
Social media has given a voice to many women — all with the power of the hashtag. Here's a roundup of the most influential hashtags for women in 2016.

'Some demand free sex' - video
8 December 2016
More than 300 police officers have been accused of using their position to sexually exploit people, including victims of crime, a report has said.

Egypt girls launch cycling equality campaign

Egyptian Girls On Bikes
21 November 2016
The Port Said event was planned by five secondary school students. Girls in northern Egypt have launched a bike-riding campaign in protest against widespread intolerance towards female cyclists. It's unusual to see women cycling in Egypt, and some of those who do so face harassment from passers-by. But five teenagers in the city of Port Said are trying to change that. They created a group called "There is no difference" to promote cycling as an option for female travellers, prompted by steep rises in the cost of taxi and minibus rides since the government slashed fuel subsidies. Their first event was a mass bike ride in the coastal city that attracted both male and female cyclists. "We want to show that there is no difference between boys and girls," Israa Fayed, one of the organisers, tells government-sponsored Al-Qanal TV. "Girls can ride bikes, and our first aim is to get society accustomed to the sight of a girl on a bike." The initiative has attracted support from women's rights group Kahilah. Its founder, Enas al-Maasarawy, says hundreds of young people got on their bikes for the event. "There was a great turnout. We think it is the beginning of a change," she told the BBC. There was plenty of praise on the event's Facebook page, where one of the girls taking part said they were united around one goal: "To make the society believe that riding bikes is normal, and there is nothing shameful about it." There has been widespread concern over women's rights in Egypt in recent years after a spike in sexual harassment and violence against women following the country's 2011 revolution. New punishments were introduced for offenders in 2014, including jail terms of up to five years.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka: We need young leaders to change status quo
Renowned South African musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka has said younger leaders are needed in African countries to help shape the future of the continent. "Africa needs great leaders, and we do have great leaders by the way, we just need the political will and we need young leaders to change the status quo. We need young leaders to shape the Africa they want," she told BBC HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur. She questioned why the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are being approached for aid money when the continent has mineral wealth and some of the countries' leaders are richer than the places they govern. Chaka Chaka has been recording and touring for 30 years and is known as the Princess of Africa.

The Malawi teen fighting sex initiation customs
12 October 2016
Nineteen-year-old Memory Banda is a gender rights activist who fights against the age-old custom in Malawi of sending girls to so-called "initiation camps" after they start their first period. The camps aim is to teach girls their "duties as wives" and how to please a man sexually.

The Malawian marriage terminator - video
2 November 2016
Theresa Kachindamoto, a senior chief of a district in Malawi, has terminated 840 marriages, sending the young couples back to school. In rural areas of Malawi, some parents are eager to marry off girls as young as 12.

Anomalous powers of a girl, China. Мистика. Все В Шоке Девчонка Не От мира Сего

Somalia's women in the driving seat - video
26 February 2013
Women in Somalia are enjoying the independence of driving, after nearly two years of living under the strict rule of al-Shabaab. Life for women in Mogadishu has changed beyond recognition, although full equality is still to be realised.

Could Fadumo Dayib be Somalia's first female president? - video
3 June 2015
Fadumo Dayib wants to be Somalia's first female president. The mother of four says she has already received death threats, but that nothing will stop her from running in the upcoming elections, which are due to be held in 2016. Fadumo was born in Kenya, the daughter of Somali parents. As a child, her family was deported back to Somalia, but when civil war broke out shortly thereafter they were forced to leave again, ending up in Finland. She didn't learn to read and write until the age of 14, but went on to earn masters degrees in health care and public health. It was through her work with the United Nations that she realized she wanted to do more to help the people of Somalia. The BBC met Fadumo in Boston, where she recently graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Somalia's 60-year-old graduate motivated by feminist issues - video
5 October 2016
Sixty-year-old Safiyo Jama Gayre has just graduated in Somalia. She chose to study Sharia and secular law at Puntland State University in order to help victims of oppression, especially women. As the university's oldest female graduate, she says age should not be a barrier for education. This is part a regular series on African Women You Need to Know.

How one Ghanaian woman leads with laughter - video
21 November 2016
Lucy Quist, managing director of Airtel Ghana Limited, on how she helps people see female leaders as less of a novelty. Women of Africa is a BBC season recognising inspiring women across the continent. The third series, Power Women, introduces six women, who are chief executive officers or company heads, who are finding success in their country - and beyond.

US election: Trump sex assault accuser speaks out - video
12 November 2016
The former reality-TV show contestant Summer Zervos, who had previously accused president-elect Donald Trump of sexual assault, has released another statement. Mr Trump denied Zervos' original claim, in which she said the businessman had kissed her and touched her without consent. After more women came forward with similar claims, Mr Trump said they were liars who would be sued after the election. In her most recent statement, Zervos said she was the target of abuse and harassment after Mr Trump called her a liar. She did not specify from whom she received abuse, or imply that Mr Trump or anyone from his team deliberately orchestrated it. She asked him to retract his statement. "Even though is hard and painful to go up against the most powerful man, I will continue to speak the truth and I refuse to be intimidated into silence."

Hillary didn't win but the 2016 US election was actually a milestone for women

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Tuesday 8 November 2016 was actually an historic night for women in US politics. The US now has its first Thai-American senator, its first LGBT governor and its first Somali-American Muslim legislator. They will help steer America when Donald Trump takes up the presidency in January. Here are the new female faces of US politics. Catherine Cortez Masto, senator of Nevada. Catherine Cortez Masto is the former attorney general of Nevada and she is now the first Latina to be voted into the US senate. Like Hillary Clinton she is a Democrat and she campaigned for an overhaul in immigration, as she is the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant. She also spoke out against Donald Trump's plans to build a wall between the US and Mexico. Ilhan Omar, US legislator. Ilhan Omar has become the first Somalian-American Muslim woman legislator. A legislator works to write and pass laws in America. Ilhan fled the Somali civil war in 1990 and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya before moving to America. She campaigned on a variety of social issues such as police reform, climate change, the cost of education and building a more inclusive economy. Kate Brown, governor of Oregon. Kate Brown has become the 38th governor of Oregon and the first openly bisexual person to be voted into such a role. In her victory speech she said that her political career was sparked by the discovery that, in the 1980s, she was earning less as an attorney than a male colleague on the same level. "I vow that I will do everything in my power to make sure that no one in this state has to face that level of fear, or face that level of discrimination," she said. Kamala Harris, senator of California. Kamala Harris is the first Indian-American and second African-American woman in history to become a US senator. She was endorsed by both Barack Obama and Joe Biden during her campaign. Kamala was previously the first female, the first African-American, the first Indian-American, and the first Asian-American attorney general in California. Tammy Duckworth, senator of Illinois. Tammy Duckworth has become the first Thai-American woman to become a senator, beating Republican Mark Kirk to secure a win. It was a personal victory for Tammy as well as political, with Kirk having previously mocked her heritage during their election race. Tammy served in the Iraq war as a helicopter pilot, where she lost both of her legs and damaged her right armStephanie Murphy, member-elect to the House of Representatives. Stephanie is the first Vietnamese-American woman ever to be voted into a role in congress. Her parents fled Vietnam by boat and were rescued the by the US navy from the sea. Previously a national security specialist, she beat rival John Mica - who had served as the Republican representative for 23 years - after only starting her campaign in June 2016. Pramila Jayapal, senator of Washington State. Pramila is the first Indian-American woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives. Before her political career, she worked as a civil rights activist and funded an advocacy group for Arab, Muslim and South Asian Americans after the 11 September attacks. She was endorsed by Bernie Sanders in April 2016.

 100 women: 'Why I fought being banished to a hut during my period'

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17 January 2017
Krishnamaya in her village, where she has challenged traditional attitudes to menstruating women. An ancient Hindu tradition in which menstruating women are banished to an outhouse is under the spotlight in Nepal after the death of a 15-year-old girl. The practice was banned in 2005 but still continues in western areas. BBC Nepali reporter Krishnamaya Upadhayaya, 24, describes how she has fought against the tradition, known as chhaupadi. I started menstruating when I was 12. My mother, sisters and sisters-in-law used to stay outdoors in a mud hut when they were menstruating so I started staying there too. I was always afraid of what would happen. I was scared of insects and wild animals. I was told it was a sin to touch books during menstruation so I did not go to school during the three days of my period. I used to wonder why I was not allowed to touch books. I missed school and I wasn't the only one. Many girls in my village faced the same problem. Even today, menstruating women are not allowed to enter their courtyard for seven days and are not allowed to consume dairy products like milk, butter, yoghurt etc. I was very hurt when I was not allowed to enter my own courtyard. During your period, people don't hand you food, they fling it at you. The belief that you must not touch your elders during menstruation still persists. A menstruating woman during chhaupadhi. A menstruating woman crouches outside a mud hut in Krishnamaya's home village. And I still had to deal with it when I moved from Kutari village to Khalanga, the capital of Jumla district, to go to college when I was 17. When I went looking for a room to rent, the landlord asked me if I had begun menstruating. When I truthfully replied that I had, I was turned away. I wanted to cry, I did not know what to do. If I went back home, I would miss my studies but it looked like I would not find a room to rent. Period taboos. In many world religions, women are seen as impure during their period. They are restricted from entering places of worship and following religious rites. The chhaupadi tradition followed by Hindus in western Nepal is the most extreme version where women are banished outside during their monthly cycle. In India, women are not allowed enter some Hindu temples and Muslim mosques while menstruating but there have been court cases to overturn this. In southern India, a girl reaching puberty is celebrated with a party and presents. In the Dogon tribe in Mali, women of the village also live in a hut during their period. Finally, I found a room where the landlord said he would allow me to live on the ground floor, but not on the first floor of the house. I agreed to live on the ground floor (as far away from the others and as close to the door as possible). But there were problems. I was not allowed to touch the water tap during my period so someone would have to give me water. I had read that you should maintain hygiene during your period so I used the inside toilet, even though the landlord asked me not to and wanted me to go outside. Krishnamaya at work in the radio studio. Krishnamaya has educated herself about chhaupadi through her work as a radio journalist. After spending a month in Khalanga, I started working in radio. I learned more and more about menstruation. When my landlord complained that my menstruation was creating problems for him, I moved. Usually women are not allowed to rent the upper floor in Jumla because they menstruate. This belief persists even among educated people. It has been six years since I started working in radio. I stay in my room during my period. But I do not tell anyone, including my landlord, that I am menstruating, because I am afraid that I will be sent to a shed. One person cannot end a social ill that has been passed down for generations. Change cannot happen unless society accepts it. When I go home to my village, I stay in the house during my period. I stay in my own room. I do not enter the kitchen and prayer room. After protesting many times to my family, I have been able to stay inside the house rather than outside in a mud hut. I hope that one day the chhaupadi tradition, like the Sati tradition (of a widow immolating herself on her husband's pyre), will end.  Krishnamaya in front of her rented room where she is not allowed live on the first floor. I am very sad to hear of women losing their lives due to the chhaupadi tradition in the mid and far western regions of Nepal. Even in my district, a lot of women live in sheds, so the same thing could happen here too. The government needs to do more to educate people. Chhaupadi is banned but mindsets have not changed.

Sasikala: The 'new mother' of Tamil Nadu politics, India

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29 December 2016
Analysts say Sasikala faces a big task coming out of Jayalalitha's shadow. Sasikala Natarajan has been appointed as the general secretary of India's regional AIADMK party, replacing J Jayalalitha, who died in December after a prolonged illness. BBC Tamil's Thirumalai Manivannan profiles Sasikala's political journey in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. From a homemaker to becoming a trusted friend of the most powerful woman in Tamil Nadu politics, it has been a long and dramatic journey for Sasikala. For close to three decades, Sasikala, known as "Chinnamma" (younger mother) to her supporters, has been an almost permanent fixture in Jayalalitha's life, often seen with the former chief minister on public platforms. Grief as India's 'Iron Lady' dies. Jayalalitha: The 'goddess' of Tamil Nadu politics. Never given any formal role by Jayalalitha in the party or the state government, Sasikala's identity remained as her aide and confidante. Indian supporters and ministers gather alongside the coffin of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram at Rajaji Hall in Chennai on December 6, 2016.  Sasikala managed Jayalalitha's funeral arrangements. But her proximity to power allowed her and her extended family to wield huge influence in the party and the government. Jayalalitha's death has now given Sasikala an opportunity she never had. She has now been tasked to lead the AIADMK, the party which has ruled the southern state for nearly 25 out of the last 40 years. Steady rise
Her transformation from an aide of Jayalalitha to her political successor is remarkable. Sasikala was born into a middle-class family and spent her early years in Thanjavur district. She married M Natarajan, who worked as a public relations officer in the state government. Jayalalithaa Jayaram, leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), visits a portrait of party founder M.G. Ramachandran in Chennai on May 20, 2016. The former movie star known as 'Amma' (Mother) has long enjoyed a huge following in prosperous Tamil Nadu where she has won three terms as chief minister since 1991. Actor and director MG Ramachandran was Jayalalitha's mentor, and inducted her into the movies.
Sasikala says she wants to take the party of MG Ramachandran and Jayalalitha to greater heights. When he lost his job during during the 1975 Emergency, Sasikala started a video rental business to support her family. She was reportedly introduced to Jayalalitha by a civil servant. Sasikala started visiting Poes Garden, Jayalalitha's residence, to provide video cassettes to her. This customer-consumer relationship soon blossomed into a strong friendship. 'Soul sister'
She moved into Jayalaltiha's home in the late 1980s, at a time when she was fighting a political battle to wrest full control of the AIADMK after the death of her mentor and the party's founder M G Ramachandran. Her influence over Jayalalitha increased during her first term as chief minister between 1991 and 1996, and she became a permanent resident in the leader's house. Sasikala's friendship with Jayalalitha gave her and her family members, including her husband, incredible access in the government. Sasikala and Jayalalitha.
Jayalalitha, right, always dismissed any criticism of Sasikala. They were often accused of misusing their proximity to the AIDMK leader, an allegation they always denied.
Jayalalitha also dismissed any criticism of her association with Sasikala, saying she was her "soul sister". Their friendship deepened when Jayalalitha adopted Sasikala's nephew VN Sudhakaran as her "foster son". Mr Sudhakaran's wedding to the grand-daughter of Tamil cinema legend Sivaji Ganesan in 1995 made national headlines. The event, billed as the "mother of all weddings", became a spectacular public relations disaster for Jayalaltiha. She was accused of using government resources for the grand wedding. Analysts say that Jayalalitha paid a heavy political price for this, and lost the 1996 assembly elections, including her own seat. Sasikala's influence over Jayalalitha also became the source of intense media speculation and tabloid gossip. They also faced corruption charges. A Karnataka high court order in 2015, which cleared them of involvement in a corruption scandal, paved the way for Jayalalitha's return to power after a setback in September 2014 when a trial court found them guilty of corruption. India's Supreme Court has heard an appeal in the same case, and has reserved its verdict. Amid her legal troubles, Jayalalitha increasingly distanced herself from Sasikala's family, and banished all of them from her house.Whatever the reasons behind their friendship, Sasikala's proximity to Jayalalitha also gained a political and social dimension in Tamil Nadu. Jayalalitha was one of India's most charismatic and enigmatic personalities. Sasikala belongs to the backward Mukkulathor community, which has a dominating presence in southern and some central districts of the state. With Sasikala apparently calling the shots behind the scenes in the AIADMK, the influence of the Mukkulathor community increased within the party structure. The Mukkulathor community, which has often had a hostile relationship with the Dalit (formerly Untouchable) community in southern districts, saw Sakikala as someone who could defend their interests. But caste calculations aside, Sasikala's political and administrative acumen is still largely unknown. While her supporters claim that having donned the role of Jayalalitha's "political adviser" for many years, Sasikala is experienced in handling sensitive party matters. But her critics say that she is yet to prove herself, and the corruption case she faces may become an obstacle in her path.

Australia. 'Ms Dhu' inquest: Aboriginal woman's treatment was 'inhumane'

16 December 2016
Relatives of Ms Dhu participate in a protest outside the coroner's court in Perth, Australia, 16 December 2016. Ms Dhu's family protested outside the courthouse in Perth
An Aboriginal woman who died in police custody after three visits to hospital was subjected to "unprofessional and inhumane" treatment by police, an Australian coroner has said.
Coroner Ros Fogliani said that the woman, known as Ms Dhu, had also received "deficient" health care. Ms Dhu, whose full name is not used for cultural reasons, was arrested in August 2014 for unpaid fines. Her family insists someone should be held accountable for her death. Ms Dhu's death and her family's fight for justice have become a symbol for Aboriginal rights in Australia. Delivering a series of recommendations at Perth Central Law Courts, Ms Fogliani said the law in Western Australia should be changed to end the imprisonment of people for non-payment of fines. She also said police officers should undergo cultural competency training to better understand Aboriginal people's health concerns. After being arrested on 2 August 2014, Ms Dhu, 22, was taken into custody at South Hedland Police Station, near the remote mining town of Port Hedland. She began to complain of rib pain from a previous injury and was taken to South Hedland Health Campus. A doctor found no signs of infection and had her returned to custody on the basis that her pain was due to "behavioural issues". The next day, Ms Dhu was still complaining of pain and was returned to hospital. But Ms Fogliani said her temperature was not taken, a chest X-ray was not performed and "errors were made and there was a missed opportunity to treat Ms Dhu for her infection". She added: "On this presentation, antibiotics would have been potentially life-saving for Ms Dhu." The following day Ms Dhu "continued to suffer a catastrophic decline in her health" but Ms Fogliani said: "The behaviour towards her by a number of police officers was unprofessional and inhumane. "Their behaviour was affected by preconceptions they had formed about her." CCTV footage played at the inquest showed officers dragging Ms Dhu, who appears to be unconscious, from her cell to a police vehicle. She was taken to hospital for a third time where she died from septicaemia and pneumonia resulting from a broken rib. In her conclusion, Ms Fogliani says: "It is profoundly disturbing to witness the appalling treatment of this young woman at the lock-up on 4 August 2014. "In her final hours she was unable to have the comfort of the presence of her loved ones, and was in the care of a number of police officers who disregarded her welfare and her right to humane and dignified treatment." Speaking outside the court, Ms Dhu's family said they were not satisfied with the coroner's recommendations because no-one had been held accountable for her death, broadcaster ABC reported.

Will Trump's election lead to more women in politics?

27 Dec 2016
Hillary Clinton after speaking at the Children's Defense Fund Beat the Odds Celebration at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Though she lost the election, Mrs Clinton won the popular vote by nearly three million votes. As Hillary Clinton exits the national stage, US women continue to pursue a political life. Will a Trump presidency motivate more women to run for office? The election of Donald Trump delivered a crushing blow to US women's rights activists hoping to elect the first female president. But Hillary Clinton's failure to shatter the metaphorical glass ceiling was not collective. In fact, Mr Trump's victory has appeared to energise a new group of women who have pledged to run for office.
Ladies first: How US politics got left behind? Did Clinton win more votes than any white man in history? Hillary Clinton: What went wrong for her?
She Should Run, a non-partisan non-profit that encourages more women to get into politics, has seen more than 5,100 women sign up for its incubator programme since the election, according to Erin Loos Cutraro, the group's chief executive and co-founder. The incubator, initially launched in March, helps prepare women who are interested in running for office and connects them with like-minded women. Chelsea Wilson, a 27-year-old member of the Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma native, is one of those women who felt empowered to step forward. The Washington, DC, resident went through the programme in the spring. She plans to return to her home state and run for office. "More women in government injects new perspectives and ideas," Ms Wilson says. "And I think the election shined a light on what's missing in politics." She Should Run is not the only group pushing for more female candidates to receive a post-election surge of support. Emily's List, an organisation dedicated to electing pro-choice, Democratic women for office, told the BBC it raised more than $500,000 (£406,867) since 8 November. A group of protesters rally against Donald Trump outside of Trump Tower in New York City. She Should Run has seen more than 5,100 women sign up for its incubator to prepare women for a run for office. The group said most of those donations were unsolicited and roughly a third came from new donors. Ready to Run, a non-partisan training programme for women considering elected office at Rutgers University's Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), has already registered nearly 100 women for its spring course. At this time last year, only two people were signed up. "They want to make sure that their voices are heard," says centre director Debbie Walsh. "It's this notion that if they don't speak up, who will?" "I've always had it in the back of my mind that I may want to run for office some day," says Courtney Peters-Manning, a 39-year-old finance director. But working full time and having two young children made it "easy for daily life to get in the way of grand ambition". The election was "the kick in the pants that I needed". Ms Peters-Manning is looking to run at the county government level. It's not Congress, but she says such local governments are important. Mercer County, New Jersey, where she lives, has a $300m dollar budget. When Ms Wilson thinks about a run in Oklahoma as a young, progressive woman of colour, she sees a difficult road ahead.
"It's likely that I'll lose." she said. "But if we don't make the decision to take these risks now, then how do we tell other women and girls that they should make the leap, too?Though Mrs Clinton's loss was a "tough moment", the number of women who have expressed interest in running changes the message, says Ms Loos Cutraro. "If we want to see women have an equal voice in the halls of power... it is up to each and every one of us to do something about it."
Lagging behind globally
With or without a woman in the White House, the US has a disproportionately low share of women in politics. About 19% of all members of Congress and less than 25% of all state legislators are women, according to CAWP. Just 12% of the nation's governors are female. The US currently ranks behind 98 other countries in the percentage of women in its main legislative body - putting it behind nations like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan - according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. "The day after the election wasn't just for us an issue of rewriting all our post-election messages," says Ms Loos Cutraro. "It was also this realisation that we made little to no gains in the percentage of women serving in elected office from town halls to Congress." The last time anger appeared to galvanise women to run for office was 1992, according to Ms Walsh. That year, Anita Hill testified before an all-male Senate Judiciary committee, accusing Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas of sexually harassing her while she served as his aide. She came away from the testimony with a tarnished reputation, while Mr Thomas was confirmed. But dozens of women successfully ran for office the same year. The number of women in the Senate doubled from two to four and the House of Representatives went from 28 to 47. Why are so few women running? For many women, the barriers - both structural and mental - are enough to sit out a political contest. Research has shown that though women are just as likely to be elected as men, they often think they are not qualified to run for office and are less likely to be encouraged to do so. Among college students in a 2013 study, men were twice as likely as women to say they would be qualified for office later on. And perhaps more visibility is needed to make a difference. Amelia Showalter, a political consultant and former director of digital analytics for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign, found electing a woman to a high office such as a governor or US senator was linked to a 2-3% increase in female representation in their state legislature four years later. Still, this year's bitterly divisive election has some concerned whether more women will actually want to subject themselves to a political run where sexism is front and centre. US Senator-elect and California Attorney General Kamala Harris was one of three women of colour elected to the Senate this year. But Ms Walsh remains encouraged. "Women are actually defying the idea that women won't want to be engaged because it's so ugly," Ms Walsh pointed out. "That in fact what they want to do is step up even more." This year has seen one bright spot for political women's representation - 38 women of colour were elected to Congress, the largest number ever. As Ms Walsh points out, the number of minority female women serving in the Senate at the same time has never been more than one. In 2017, there will be four. California's Kamala Harris, Illinois' Tammy Duckworth, Nevada's Catherine Cortez Masto will join Hawaii's Mazie Hirono. "We have to find more of the women who are willing to step out because frankly, it is not until we see critical mass of women or equal representation that we will change that culture in a meaningful way." Ms Loos Cutraro said. "Our job now is to keep moving forward."

India. Bangalore New 2017 Year: 'People were grabbing, groping'

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4 Jan 2017
Police hold back crowds in Bangalore (31 Dec 2016). Some 60,000 people had gathered at the New Year celebrations. Police in India say they have credible evidence that widespread sexual assaults took place at New Year's Eve celebrations in Bangalore. Several woman have said they were molested by mobs of men, though police say they have had no official complaints from victims yet. One woman, a marketing professional who asked to be identified only as Pooja, was at the event and told the BBC what happened to her. Pooja's story
On 31 December, we decided to go to a bar on Mahatma Gandhi (MG) Road. At 11.30 I came out to make a call and found that everything was quiet and calm. At 12:30 my friend who was to pick me up called me to say that the police had put barricades and he had to park his motorbike at the Shankar Nag theatre. He told me to start walking towards that side and he would meet me halfway. I said goodbye to my friends and started walking towards the Brigade Road side. India anger as minister blames 'Western' behaviour. In between, I saw people rushing and walking but I did not expect them to do anything. Man helps a woman during unrest in Bangalore (31 Dec 2016). Some men helped women to get away from the mobs, as in this picture. I believed Bangalore was a safe city until then. What happened next shocked me a lot. People were pushing and shoving, touching, grabbing, groping and everything was happening on that street. It was not only to me. It was happening to other girls too. They were all scared. 'I felt so helpless'. Suddenly, someone pushed me and I fell down. There was no-one to pick me up. Then a group of girls helped me get up. Their friends had formed a circle around them so they could walk safely. I asked them if I could go with them. Even then when we were walking, there were guys who were trying to touch here and there. Police beat back crowds in Bangalore on New Year's eve. Police used batons to push back the crowds at points. There was not a single face you could make out or who was doing it. As soon as you turned you would be groped or grabbed. There were so many people there that you could not pinpoint who was doing it. There was a lathi [baton] charge on Brigade Road so people were running in all directions. I felt helpless. Although I have hands and legs and I could abuse and slap them, I could not do anything. I didn't know who was touching me and groping me. When I came and told my friends, they asked me who were the people? Were they from the slum? I had no answer. 'Everlasting impact'
In the pub too, groping was happening. When we pay 6,000-7,000 rupees ($88; £72) to go to a pub to get entry to celebrate, you expect people to be of a certain class. At least, that they wouldn't do such things. These people weren't illiterate or uneducated. They don't know what effect it has on a girl's life. It has an everlasting impact. Who would I file a complaint against? I don't know a face or name. Even if I go to the police, they will ask who the complaint is against. A weeping woman seeks help from a policewoman. Police have asked people to send in any evidence of assaults. There were so many people that the policemen were highly outnumbered. It was not possible for them to keep a watch on each and every person. This has become a big issue in the last three days. Why hasn't any action been taken? What are they waiting for? Yes, I have been through such situations earlier. But I have punched, slapped and complained to nearby authorities. I have been in Bangalore for three years. I thought it was a safe city. Seeing this mass molestation was really shocking. When I spoke to some people, I was told that this had happened last year as well. So why weren't arrangements made? Instead of pretending nothing will happen, authorities should make efforts to curb this.

100 Women: How South Korea stopped its parents aborting girls

13 Jan 2017
Daughters were traditionally valued less than sons in South Korea. People wearing traditional Korean 'hanbok' dresses take part in a parade in the central Gwanghwamun square in Seoul. For every 100 baby girls born in India, there are 111 baby boys. In China, the ratio is 115 to 100. One other country saw similar rates in 1990, but has since brought its population back into balance. How did South Korea do it? Yvette Tan reports. "One daughter is equal to 10 sons," was the message desperately being promoted by the South Korean government. It was some two decades ago and gender imbalance was at a high, reaching 116.5 boys for every 100 girls at its peak. The preference for sons goes back centuries in Korean tradition. They were seen to carry on the family line, provide financial support and take care of their parents in old age. "There was the idea that daughters were not regarded as part of their own family after marriage," says Ms Park-Cha Okkyung, the executive director of the Korean Women's Associations United. The government was looking for a solution - and fast. In an effort to reduce the incidence of selective abortions, South Korea enacted a law in 1988 making it illegal for a doctor to reveal the gender of a foetus to expectant parents. At the same time women were also becoming more educated, with many more starting to join the workforce, challenging the convention that it was the job of a man to provide for his family. It worked, but it was not for one reason alone. Rather, a combination of these factors led to the eventual gender rebalancing. South Korea was acknowledged as the "first Asian country to reverse the trend in rising sex ratios at birth", in a report by the World Bank. In 2013, the ratio was down to 105.3, a number comparable to major Western nations such as Canada. Rapid urbanisation
Monica Das Gupta, research professor in sociology at the University of Maryland who has studied gender disparity across Asia, says factors other than legislation are likely to be the most significant in accounting for this change. A legal ban can "dampen things a bit", but she points out that "seven years after the law [was instituted] sex-selective abortions continued". Rather she attributes the change to the "blistering pace" of urbanisation and industrialisation in South Korea. While the country was predominantly a rural society there was great emphasis on male lineage and boys staying at home to inherit their fathers' land. But in just a few decades a large part of the population has moved to living in apartment blocks with people they don't know and working in factories with people they don't know, and the system has become much more impersonal, Dr Das Gupta says.
China and India, though, still have a stark gender imbalance, despite India outlawing, and China regulating against, sex-selective testing and abortions. So why is that?
Chart shows the ratio of how girls are outnumbered at birth over three decades in South Korea, India, China and Canada. Dr Das Gupta believes that in China this may be because until last year, the rule that your household registration - known as the hukou system - remained in the village where you were from, regardless of the fact that you might work in the city, meant that there was still an emphasis on male lineage and land ownership, but that this should now start to shift. But she also stressed that the change is not always linear. As people gain economic advantage they have better access to sex-selective testing and have fewer children, which actually then puts greater emphasis on their gender. In India in 1961, there were 976 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of seven. According to the latest census figures released in 2011, that figure had dropped to a dismal 914 and campaigners say the decline is largely due to the increased availability of antenatal sex screening, despite the fact that both the tests and sex-selective abortion have been outlawed since 1994. They say that in the past decade alone, 8 million female foetuses may have been aborted in the country. But she argues that several factors in India are slowly having a trickle-down effect on attitudes to women including media representation of women functioning in the outside world, and legislative changes enforcing equal inheritance rules and requiring one-third of elected positions be reserved for women. BBC 100 Women names 100 influential and inspirational women around the world every year. We create documentaries, features and interviews about their lives, giving more space for stories that put women at the centre. While South Korea may have rebalanced its population, this does not necessarily equate gender equality, Ms Okkyung argues. "Even though Korea has a normal gender ratio balance, discrimination against women still continues," the 47-year-old says. "We need to pay more attention to the real situations that women face rather than just looking at the numbers." Women in South Korea face one of the largest gender wage gaps amongst developed countries - at 36% in 2013. By comparison, New Zealand has a gap of some 5%. "Nowadays women go to university at a higher rate than men in South Korea. However, the problem starts when women enter into the labour market," Ms Okkyung explains. Businesswomen leave an office building in downtown Seoul.
"The glass ceiling is very solid and there is a low percentage of women at higher positions in offices." One of the reasons it is harder for women to compete in the workplace is because they are expected to devote their time to both work and family. "One example is that working mothers have a dilemma, as children in elementary schools come home early after lunch. Therefore, mothers who cannot see a sustainable future in the workplace tend to quit their jobs," says Ms Okkyung. Dr Hyekung Lee was one of the few Korean women in her generation that did find workplace success. "I have been very lucky that I was brought up in a very enlightened family. My family had three girls and two boys, and all were given the same support for education," says 68-year-old Dr Lee, who is the chairperson of the Korea Foundation for Women, the country's only non-profit organisation for women.
"But when I became a full-time faculty member in my university, I had to be the only woman professor in my department throughout my 30 years there." Moving ahead
Generally, attitudes towards women have improved as today's Korean men become more educated and exposed to global norms. They also inevitably mix with women across all spheres of life, in workplaces, schools or social circles, something that perhaps was not so common decades ago. Two mothers carry their babies at a Pregnancy and Maternity exhibition.
Having children makes it hard for women to compete in the workplace, partly because of school hours for younger children. It is amongst the older generation that many still cling on to the preference for sons. Emily [not her real name], 26, recalls that growing up as an only child, she was always treated equally by her grandparents - until her step-brothers were born. "I only noticed the difference when my brothers came," she said. "Then I realised that they would never do stuff like the housework. My birthday is also one day before my father's so my grandparents didn't allow me to celebrate it because as they said: 'How dare a girl celebrate a birthday before her father?'"
Lee Tae-rim, 10 (L), and her mother, Kim Min-jeong (R), smile as they walk back home from the dance school at night on August 10, 2016 in Seoul. How long will South Korea's women take to catch up?
"I think Korea is at that transitional phase that people are more aware now than previous generations, but it's still not quite equal compared to Western countries," she says.
"I've had friends tell me I can only keep my career if I stay single, and others tell me I've chased away men because I was too bossy on the dates and took the initiative."
She also notes that there is also a substantial difference in attitudes towards women in bigger cities and smaller towns. "Cities like Busan are more traditional. I've had friends from Busan get a culture shock when they come to Seoul," she says. "In the capital, things are more progressive." Yet she believes change will come. "Women in Korea need to be aware that there is gender discrimination," says Emily, who is now studying in the Netherlands. "I didn't know until I left - I thought the way things were was just how they were. It's not until you expose yourself to other cultures that you start to question your own. I think things will change, but it will take a lot of time."

'I killed my rapist when he came back for my sister' - video (highly recommended, LM)

26 October 2016
A young Tunisian woman was photographed naked by a friend of her father's, who then used the images to silence her - until one day she snapped and took a bloody revenge. This story is part of the BBC's Shame series, which examines a disturbing new phenomenon - the use of private or sexually explicit images to blackmail and shame young people, mainly girls and women, in some of the world's most conservatives societies.

Natasha Annie Tonthola: My fight against Malawi's 'hyenas'

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25 October 2016
Natasha spends time with girls in various public schools sharing her life experiences. In July the BBC wrote about a Malawian man paid to have sex with young girls from his village, as part of a sexual initiation ritual. Later a Malawian woman, Natasha Annie Tonthola, contacted the BBC to explain how her experience of the ritual helped inspire her to campaign for the protection of women and girls. This is her story. I'm the oldest of five children and I grew up in a village in the central district of Malawi, near the capital, Lilongwe, and I was 13 years old when the initiation ceremony happened. My father was from a village near Mulanje, in the south of the country, and I was sent there for the ceremony after my first period. You don't have a choice - it happens to every girl in the village. We were told that we were going to learn about womanhood, and to be honest I was excited. So was every other girl. On the last day one of the female elders told us that we had reached the final part of the process. She said a hyena was coming to visit us. "Don't worry, I'm not talking about an animal," she said. "I'm talking about a man." But we didn't actually know what a hyena is, or what he was going to do. They don't tell you he's going to have sex with you. The female elder came in and said, 'Congratulations, you have finished the initiation ceremony, and you are a woman now'. We each had a piece of cloth and we were told to put it on the floor. We were told that it was time to show that we knew how to treat a man, that we knew what to do for our future husbands. Then we were blindfolded. You're not supposed to show you're scared, you're not supposed to show you don't know what's happening to you. The man comes, and he tells you to lie down, you open your legs and he does what he does. We weren't allowed to know who the man was - only the elders know. We were young girls, so we were tense, and this man would push our legs open. I found it painful. When he finished, I was relieved. The female elder came in and said, "Congratulations, you have finished the initiation ceremony, and you are a woman now." Many girls think this is normal because we are in a way brainwashed, we think it is OK because it is tradition. But the hyena didn't use protection and some of the girls got pregnant. When we got back home, we weren't allowed to chat or play with girls who hadn't already been through the ceremony. I wasn't allowed to tell my younger sister anything about it. Girls are entering puberty earlier, and getting their periods at a younger age, so now the ceremony is happening to girls as young as 10 or 11 years old.
After the ceremony my life took a turn for the worse. My father, who was a policeman, died the following year. The tradition of "wife inheritance" says that the brother of a man who dies should marry the widow, to provide for the family, but my mother refused to follow this custom. Instead, we moved to South Africa, as my mother is half South African and my uncle invited us there to make a fresh start. We both took jobs to make ends meet - I lied about my age and got jobs in a salon and a kitchen. I also worked as a housekeeper. But despite working hard, we didn't have enough money to pay my school fees or to support our family. Then, through my relatives back in Malawi, I found out that there was a man who was willing to pay my school fees as long as I agreed to marry him. I was about to turn 16, and I didn't want to get married so young. My mother didn't want me to either. But I was desperate to finish my education, and worried about my siblings and my mother, who was working so hard it was affecting her health. So I said yes and we all moved back to Malawi. In some communities they told us: 'Just because you are educated, doesn't mean that you should tell us what to do'. We had a traditional marriage and he started paying for my secondary schooling and supporting my entire family. He was 15 years older than I was, he was educated, and was a successful businessman, but he was physically abusive. He beat me all the time. I still have scars on my body from my marriage. I got pregnant at age 17, but fortunately I was able to take my exams before I gave birth to my daughter. My husband was still abusive - I almost had a miscarriage - and he was having affairs the entire time we were together. I was broken. This was not how I wanted my life to be, and I knew my husband was doing this to me because I was young and vulnerable, and didn't have anywhere else to go. I was trapped. It was at this point that my uncle in South Africa came to the rescue again. He knew I was passionate about fashion, and arranged for me to enrol in a fashion design course. My husband always told me that if I left him, he'd hunt me down and kill me. So I had to lie, and tell him, "I'll be home in a week or two." But I did not go back. Instead I did the course, and supported myself by working in a restaurant. Eventually I went back to Malawi and started designing clothes for influential people. I also opened a restaurant - cooking is another big passion of mine, it's my version of therapy. And I started a community organisation working on a variety of issues, from keeping girls in school by fighting early marriage, educating people about rituals and traditions - including hyenas - which put girls at risk, and teaching about HIV/Aids, unwanted pregnancies and reproductive health. My troubles with my husband were not over, however. When he found out I was back in Malawi he started stalking me. He would say things like: "If I can't have you, nobody else can." One day he came to the house that I was living in. I don't know how he got my address, but he seemed calm, so I let him inside. He said he wanted to see me, and that he also wanted to see his daughter, who was at that time three years old. He told me he loved me, that he was sorry and that he was a changed man. "We're still married, and I've done so much for you," he said. "If it wasn't for me paying your fees and taking you and your miserable family in, you wouldn't have become what you are today. You owe me." I told him: "Once bitten, twice shy." I certainly didn't want to get back together with him. He shouted and threw things and then he started choking me - even though my daughter was sitting on my lap. He would have killed me if the neighbours hadn't heard my screams. They burst in and threw him out. I didn't press criminal charges, I didn't want to make my case more public than it already was. But I did get a restraining order to keep him away from me. Natasha talks to girl children at a public school in the capital Lilongwe.  All the while, something was bubbling up inside me, and I knew that what had happened to me in my life was happening to other girls and women. My community organisation continued to educate people but it was hard, particularly when we were challenging traditions such as the use of hyenas and wife inheritance. We have distributed so many sanitary towels that I have lost count. In some communities they told us: "Just because you are educated, doesn't mean that you should tell us what to do. These traditions and customs have existed for time immemorial, and we've practised them for ages without any harm." But some elders and religious leaders listened, and some have stopped the practice in their villages. In my community work I soon learned more about the barriers for girls in school. If families are going through a financial rough patch, they're more likely to pay fees for boys rather than for girls. If girls drop out of school, the family is eager to marry them off rather than have them sit around the house all day. And many girls miss class because they can't afford sanitary towels. To try to solve this problem, one of the main things my organisation is doing is distributing eco-friendly reusable washable sanitary pads and pants. They come as part of a kit including pants with clips so that they stay in place and a waterproof bag, in case girls need to change them in school. They are biodegradable, but cost effective and durable - they last for five years. I've also expanded into nappies. I hope these will encourage much less waste to go into landfill. In 2011 I realised I needed to establish a formal organisation, and that was the start of Mama Africa Foundation Trust. We have distributed so many sanitary towels that I have lost count. I call this initiative Project Dignity. Despite everything that's happened I'm optimistic about the future. I think there is so much we can do for the women and children who are victims of hyenas, of gender-based violence, and all the other social evils and challenges that are out there. It will be tough, but I have hope.

Australian students to be taught about 'male privilege'
14 October 2016
A state in Australia has launched an education programme designed to smash gender stereotypes and tackle the root causes of domestic violence. The "respectful relationship" curriculum will be mandatory in all schools in Victoria from next year. Students will explore issues around social inequality, gender-based violence and male privilege.
However, a report on a 2015 pilot trial accused it of presenting all men as "bad" and all women as "victims". Pay inequality, anger management, sexual orientation and the dangers of pornography will be among the topics explored by students in the programme, costing A$21.8m (£13.5m; $16.5m). Primary school students will be exposed to images of both boys and girls doing household chores, playing sport and working as firefighters and receptionists. The material includes statements including "girls can play football, can be doctors and can be strong" and "boys can cry when they are hurt, can be gentle, can be nurses and can mind babies". In high school, students will be taught the meaning of terms including pansexual, cisgender and transsexual and the concept of male privilege. A guide for the Year 7 and 8 curriculum states: "Being born a male, you have advantages - such as being overly represented in the public sphere - and this will be true whether you personally approve or think you are entitled to this privilege." It describes privilege as "automatic, unearned benefits bestowed upon dominant groups" based on "gender, sexuality, race or socio-economic class". Year 11 and 12 students are introduced to the concept of "hegemonic masculinity" which "requires boys and men to be heterosexual, tough, athletic and emotionless, and encourages the control and dominance of men over women". Breaking the cycle
Some critics have suggested that although more needs to be done to protect the female victims of domestic violence, the programme lacks objectivity and nuance. Jeremy Sammut, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, a libertarian think tank, told The Australian newspaper that it amounted to "taxpayer-funded indoctrination" of children. "The idea behind this programme - that all men are latent abusers by nature of the 'discourse' - is an idea that only cloistered feminist academics could love," Dr Sammut said. "A lot of evidence suggests that like child abuse, domestic violence is a by-product of social dysfunction: welfare, drugs, family breakdown."
The royal commission that recommended education as the key measure for preventing future family violence found that 25% of victims of family violence are men. Critics argue that point is often overlooked. Education Minister James Merlino has said education is the key to ending the "vicious cycle" of family violence. "This is about teaching our kids to treat everyone with respect and dignity so we can start the cultural change we need in our society to end the scourge of family violence," he said.
Other articles:
'Men to blame for family violence'
Australia's 'perfect storm' of domestic violence
Why do trolls go after feminists?
Violence amid a life of luxury


Китай изнутри: Женщины, Apr 29, 2013. На сегодня лишь одна древняя культура имеет настолько мощный потенциал, что может в скором будущем занять лидирующие позиции во всем мире. Это Китай. Страна с тысячелетней историей вновь превращается в державу номер один. Китай меняется прямо у нас на глазах, он становится богаче и сильнее. Здесь есть города, которые могут вместить в себя населения некоторых европейских стран. В новом веке коммунистический Китай может представляться как страна, имеющая единый разум и единый голос. Однако это иллюзия. Чтобы понять современный Китай документалисты отправляются в самые удаленные уголки Поднебесной. В храмы Тибета и женский трудовой лагерь под Пекином. На свадьбу в провинции и выборы в деревне. В залы, где заседает правительство, и в дома простых людей.

Китай изнутри: Менталитет китайцев

Nigeria's President Buhari: My wife belongs in kitchen - 2 videos

14 October 2016
Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari made his controversial comments standing alongside one of the most powerful women in the world, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has responded to criticism from his wife by saying she belongs in his kitchen. On a visit to Germany, he said: "I don't know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room." Mr Buhari was standing next to Chancellor Angela Merkel, who seemed to glare at him. Aisha Buhari had said she might not back her husband at the next election unless he got a grip on his government. Responding to questions by reporters, Mr Buhari said that having run for president three times and having succeeded at the fourth attempt, he could "claim superior knowledge over her". Reaction to Nigeria power couple spat. Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari's first year in quotes. In an interview with the BBC's Hausa language service, Mrs Buhari, a businesswoman and activist, suggested her husband's government had been hijacked by only a "few people", who were behind presidential appointments. "If it continues like this, I'm not going to be part of any [re-election] movement," says Aisha Buhari. "The president does not know 45 out of 50 of the people he appointed and I don't know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years," she said. Her decision to go public with her concerns will shock many people, but it shows the level of discontent with the president's leadership, says the BBC's Naziru Mikailu in the capital, Abuja. The president's remarks on the kitchen and "the other room" have been met with outrage on social media. There was immediate criticism for the president's thoughts on the role of women. Some are wondering what Mr Buhari meant by "the other room", others have been posting pictures of a variety of bedrooms, and the hashtag #TheOtherRoom is trending in Nigeria. The comments by the president sparked a flurry of explanatory tweets by his spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, who said the president respected the place of women in society and believed in their ability. He dismissed the incident as a bit of "banter": A turning point for Nigeria? Analysis by Naziru Mikailu in Abuja . Aisha Buhari campaigned vigorously for her husband in last year's election in Nigeria, organising town hall meetings with women's groups and youth organisations. However, she kept a low profile at the start of the administration. She was restricted to her work on the empowerment of women and helping victims of the Boko Haram conflict in the north-east of the country where she is from. This is one reason why this damning interview has caught the attention of many Nigerians. It is a significant blow for Mr Buhari, who has a reputation for being a tough, no-nonsense president. Mrs Buhari's comments also bolster accusations that his government has been hijacked by a small group of individuals. The comments could also mark a turning point for a government that has clearly struggled to deal with economic recession and is facing growing disquiet within the ruling party. Aisha Buhari registers to vote as the president looks on.  President Buhari (L) may not be able to rely on Mrs Buhari's (C) support if he chooses to run again in 2019. Mr Buhari was elected last year with a promise to tackle corruption and nepotism in government. The Nigerian economy, battered by low global oil prices and a currency devaluation, officially entered recession in August for the first time in a decade. Oil sales account for 70% of government income. The president famously remarked at his inauguration that he "belongs to nobody and belongs to everybody". Mrs Buhari - Born in 1971 in north-eastern Nigeria's Adamawa state, she is the granddaughter of the nation's first Minister of Defence, Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu. She married Muhammadu Buhari in 1989. They have five children together, a boy and four girls. In 1995 she opened the Hanzy Spa, northern Nigeria's first beauty parlour, in Kaduna State. She published the book The Essentials of Beauty Therapy: A Complete Guide for Beauty Specialists in 2014. She is an advocate of human rights and has donated money to help the families of victims of Boko Haram after more than 250 girls were kidnapped by the militant group in 2014. She caused upset in Nigeria last year after appearing in public wearing an expensive-looking watch, which led some to ask whether she was undermining Mr Buhari's "man of the people" image. Mrs Buhari was also criticised on social media for attempting to shake hands with the Alaafin of Oyo, a leading chief of the Yoruba people.

Перуанские индейцы заживо сожгли женщину по подозрению в колдовстве
В Перу жители индейского села сожгли заживо пожилую женщину, обвинив ее в колдовстве. Момент убийства записал на камеру мобильного телефона один из местных жителей. На видеозаписи видно, как женщину со связанными руками помещают на кучу хвороста, обливают бензином и кидают зажженную спичку. Страшное преступление было совершено в труднодоступном поселке, где нет телефонной связи, вследствие чего о совершенном еще 20 сентября преступлении стало известно только через неделю. Причиной зверского убийства стали подозрения жителей села в том, что 73-летняя женщина накликает на них болезни, сообщает РИА Новости. Перед казнью состоялся импровизированный суд, на котором 40 жителей поселка приговорили несчастную к смерти, сделав соответствующую запись об этом в местном журнале событий. В поселок был направлен отряд вооруженной полиции. Сотрудники правоохранительных органов обнаружили на месте совершения преступления останки сожженной женщины. Полиция считает, что тело жертвы продолжали жечь в течение трех дней. Журнал, в котором была сделана запись о вынесенном приговоре, изъят властями в качестве одного из доказательств совершения преступления.

The Kung Fu nuns of Nepal

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19 September 2016
Dressed in traditional maroon robes modified in the style of karate uniforms, the nuns’ smiling faces conceal an incredible energy and strength. It was barely 5am, but at Druk Gawa Khilwa nunnery in Kathmandu, Nepal, the nuns were already practicing Kung Fu. With one leg folded forward and the other one stretched out backward, they lunged in the air repeatedly, striving for perfection in a series of impeccable kicks. Cries of energy punctuated each movement, a shrill accompaniment to the booming drums. Dressed in traditional maroon robes modified in the style of karate uniforms, the women’s smiling faces concealed an incredible energy and strength. These are the Kung-Fu nuns: Nepal’s only female order to practice the deadly martial art made famous by Bruce Lee. In the inherently patriarchal Buddhist monastic system, women are considered inferior to men. Monks usually occupy all positions of leadership, leaving nuns to the household duties and other tedious chores. But in 2008, the leader of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa lineage, His Holiness The Gyalwang Drukpa, changed all that. In 2008, The Gyalwang Drukpa started encouraging his nuns to learn self-defence. After a visit to Vietnam where he saw nuns receiving combat training, he decided to bring the idea back to Nepal by encouraging his nuns to learn self-defence. His simple motive: to promote gender equality and empower the young women, who mostly come from poor backgrounds in India and Tibet. Every day, 350 nuns, aged between 10 and 25, take part in three intense training sessions where they practice the exercises taught to them by their teacher, who visits twice a year from Vietnam. As well as perfecting their postures, they handle traditional weapons, such as the ki am (sword), small dao (sabre), big dao (halberd), tong (lance) and nunchaku (chain attached to two metal bars). 350 young nuns practice Kung-Fu exercises every day. Those with exceptional physical and mental strength are taught the brick-breaking technique, made famous in countless martial arts movies, which is only performed on special occasions like His Holiness’ birthday.
The nuns, most of them with black belts, agree that Kung Fu helps them feel safe, develops self-confidence, gets them strong and keeps them fit. But an added bonus is the benefit of concentration, which allows them to sit and mediate for longer periods of time. Jigme Konchok, a nun in her early 20s who has been practicing Kung Fu for more than five years, explained the process: “I need to be constantly aware of my movement, know whether it is right or not, and correct it immediately if necessary. I must focus my attention on the sequence of movements that I have memorized and on each movement at once. If the mind wanders, then the movement is not right or the stick falls. It is the same in meditation.”
In the name of gender equality, The Gyalwang Drukpa also encourages his nuns to learn traditionally masculine skills, such as plumbing, electrical fitting, typing, cycling and English. Under his guidance, they’re taught to lead prayers and are given basic business skills – typically work done by monks – and they run the nunnery’s guesthouse and coffee shop. The progressive women even drive 4X4s down Druk Amitabha mountain to Kathmandu, about 30km away, to get supplies. Imbued with a new confidence, they are starting to use their skills and energy in community development. When Nepal was hit with a massive earthquake in April 2015, the nuns refused to move to a safer area and instead trekked to nearby villages to help remove rubble and clear pathways. They distributed food to the survivors and helped pitch tents for shelter. The nuns use their skills in community development. Early this year these nuns – led by His Holiness himself – cycled 2,200km from Kathmandu to Delhi to spread the message of environmental awareness and encourage people to use bicycles instead of cars. And when the nuns visit areas plagued by violence, like Kashmir, they deliver lectures on the importance of diversity and tolerance.
Foremost on the nuns’ agenda, however, is the promotion of female empowerment. “Kung Fu helps us to develop a certain kind of confidence to take care of ourselves and others in times of need.” Konchok explained. By practicing traditionally masculine skills, they promote female empowerment.

Women take it all - 22 Sep 2016

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In this unique and complex social structure, ancestral property, such as rice paddies and houses, is inherited by the daughters. Children take their mother’s name, and a man is considered a guest in his wife’s home. A religious mix. Minangs were traditionally animist, worshipping elements of nature, until Hinduism and later Buddhism arrived from India. Their culture is still based on adat (local customs, beliefs and laws, derived from the animist and Hindu belief systems), while pawang (spirit specialists) are consulted to cure illness, predict the future or communicate with the spirit world. Despite following a matricentred culture, however, the Minangs have also embraced patrilineal Islam. A peculiar affair. Unlike regular Islamic tradition where the bride moves into her husband’s house after marriage, the Minang groom moves into the bride’s ancestral home and lives with her family. The dowry is set by the bride’s family, based on the groom’s education and profession. A new lease of life. Marriages are an elaborate affair. On the wedding day, the groom is picked from his house and taken to the bride’s home for the ceremony, where the marriage rites, or nikah, are performed in accordance to the Islamic rites. The groom is grandly welcomed by dancing girls and men playing the gandang tambua (drum) and talempong (gong chimes). Pomp and show. The bride’s family members dress in their traditional best and carry money, gifts and food on their heads to give to the groom. An egalitarian treatmentMarriage brings about social and economic privileges for Minang women, with senior females controlling all those in the sublineage. As heads of the household and controllers of land and kin, they arbitrate and resolve disputes, reprimand and play a major role in marital talks and various rituals. Minang men are expected to have a regular source of income and take care of the expenses of raising the children. Many leave their villages in search of work, returning home only occasionally. When they do, they have no say in the domestic affairs of the house.

В будущем все люди будут женщинами?
Биологам известны случаи, когда та или иная особь вдруг меняет свой пол. Такой особенностью обладают, например, некоторые виды рыбок, червей и т.д. Не грозит ли будущее подобной трансформацией и людям? Задать этот, на первый взгляд абсурдный, вопрос заставляют следующие соображения. Канализационная система современного города перерабатывает миллионы литров жидких отходов, в которых присутствуют, кроме прочего, и выведенные из нашего организма гормоны. Те самые, которые определяют пол человека. В числе них — женский гормон, эстроген. Так вот, около 10 лет назад ученые обратили внимание на интересные изменения в рыбах, живущих в реках вблизи сточных труб. Доктор Джеф Брайти из Агентства по защите окружающей среды Великобритании поясняет:
«Существует связь между сточными водами и эстрогенным воздействием на рыб. Оно сказывается на них по-разному — от образования яйцеклеток в самцах до появления гермафродитов.
Еще недавно предполагали, что это, возможно, вызвано синтетическим эстрогеном, который, например, массово потребляют с противозачаточными пилюлями. Однако последние исследования показали, что подобные изменения рыб могут вызвать лишь естественные женские гормоны, попадающие в воду вместе с мочой...» Из подобных наблюдений некоторые исследователи делают весьма впечатляющие выводы. Подождите, говорят они, то ли еще будет. Скоро сильный пол станет слабым. И приводят удручающие факты. Судя по клиническим исследованиям, за последние полвека количество спермы у мужчин сократилось в 2 раза. Неуклонно растет количество заболеваний их половых органов. Как указывает доктор Пол Харисон, с 1970 года во многих странах поражение раком яичек участилось вдвое. А теперь к этому добавляется новая напасть. Ведь женские половые гормоны обладают способностью воздействовать не только на рыб, но и на людей, то есть, конечно, на мужчин — у дам и своего гормона в достатке. Не оттого ли джентльмены постепенно теряют унаследованное от Адама отличительное достоинство? «И это даже неплохо для человечества, — полагает нейрохимик Дороти Чайковская-Маевская, работающая в Национальном институте здоровья в Роксилле (штат Мэриленд). — По крайней мере, ничего трагического в том нет. Уже сегодня тестостерон — главный мужской половой гормон, от которого можно ожидать чего угодно, вплоть до кощунственного превращения развивающегося женского плода в мужской, — не очень-то нужен современному миру». Да, в первобытную эпоху, когда шла борьба за выживание, влияние тестостерона, усиливающего агрессивность, бывало спасительным. Ну а ныне, когда успехи человека в обществе да и самого общества больше определяются интеллектом, способностью к сотрудничеству, преимуществами умственного труда перед физическим, агрессивное поведение вредит как самому индивидууму, так и окружающим. Недаром молодые люди с высоким содержанием тестостерона составляют более 90 процентов тех, кто серьезно пострадал в результате мотоциклетных и автомобильных аварий; примерно столько же с избытком гормона и среди преступников, отбывающих наказание за драки, ограбления, изнасилования. Как после этого не оценить наблюдающийся в некоторых тканях у мужчин процесс — переработку тестостерона в эстроген? С одной стороны, последний играет важную роль в развитии и функционировании мозга. С другой — отмечена четкая зависимость между интеллектом и концентрацией в крови тестостерона: чем она ниже у мужчин, тем выше их лингвистические, математические, художественные и прочие творческие способности. Те самые, кстати, по которым, согласно статистике, прекрасный пол лидирует. Мужской интеллект, как показали тесты, проведенные в Канаде, подвержен сезонным колебаниям. Типично мужские дарования — пространственная ориентация, жесткая логика и т.д. — проявляют себя лучше всего весной, когда уровень тестостерона в крови, вопреки всеобщему мнению (вспомните хотя бы о мартовских котах), наиболее низкий. И, напротив, многие войны начинались осенью, когда уровень тестостерона достигает своего пика. И еще несколько фактов. Социологические обследования подтвердили то, что уже было зафиксировано среди животных: у кастратов смертность ниже, чем у нормальных мужчин в том же возрасте. Ну а то, что женщины живут в среднем на 8 лет дольше мужчин, давно известно. Когда постаревшим мужчинам, все еще с аппетитом посматривающим на представительниц прекрасного пола, начинали вводить тестостерон искусственно, с ними происходило чудо омоложения. Но, увы, оно было слишком кратковременное и, как правило, завершалось печально — инфарктом или инсультом, онкологическими заболеваниями простаты и т.д. Так что, как говорится, всему свое время. И вообще, не слишком ли мы преувеличиваем значение секса? Может быть, ради дальнейшего развития цивилизации, когда потребуется напряженная умственная отдача и мирное сосуществование всех членов общества, стоит смириться с мыслью о грядущем партеногенезе людей?
Профессор Дженни Грейвс из Австралийского национального университета в 2012 году на конференции заявила, что мужская Y-хромосома  очень хрупкая - ей не удается восстанавливать ущерб, нанесенный окружающей средой. За период эволюции человека в этой хромосоме разрушились 1393 из 1438 генов. Представляете, из первоначального набора осталось всего 45 генов! К слову, с женскими Х-хромосомами этого не происходит. В конечном счете, уверяет Грэйс, Y-хромосома потеряет все свои гены, которые обеспечивает выработку мужских гормонов (ген SRY),  мужчины как биологический подвид вполне могут оказаться на грани исчезновения. Мало того, исследовательница убеждена, что благодаря такой мутации возникнет две, а может быть, и больше систем, определяющих пол. То есть просто появится два различных вида человека в дополнение к ныне существующему - женщине. Мужчин такое выступление коллеги не испугало. Профессор Оксфордского университета Брайан Сайкис оптимистично заявил, что волноваться не стоит - на данном этапе развития науки исчезновение мужчин не отразится на вымирании людей на планете в целом. Дескать, существующие технологии позволяют поддерживать человечество за счет ресурсов только женского организма.

Aung San Suu Kyi's first visit to the US as leader - video
16 September 2016
In her home country they call her "mother". Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar and the world's most famous former political prisoner, has visited the US for the first time since becoming de facto head of her country. On Wednesday during her visit, President Obama lifted some of the economic sanctions against her country. So what makes her one of the world's most powerful women?

The widows who can’t return home
13 September 2016
Rejected by their communities and abandoned by their loved ones, thousands of Hindu women make their way to Vrindavan, a pilgrimage city that’s home to more than 20,000 widows. Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. Most Hindu conservatives in India believe that a woman whose husband has died should no longer live because she failed to retain his soul. Rejected by their communities and abandoned by their loved ones, thousands of destitute women make their way to Vrindavan, a pilgrimage city about 100km south of Delhi that is home to more than 20,000 widows. These women have no choice but to live in a vidhwa ashram (ashrams for widows) run by the government, private enterprises and NGOs. Clad in white, they know they will never return home and that this is where they’ll end their days. United we stand. According to Hindu tradition, a widow cannot remarry. She has to hide in the house, remove her jewellery and wear the colour of mourning. She becomes a source of shame for her family, loses the right to participate in religious life and becomes socially isolated. Many widows are either thrown out by or escape from their in-laws – with whom they usually lived­ – and head for the big cities, where they often disappear. Some go to the holy Hindu city of Varanasi, while others make their way to Vrindavan, where Lord Krishna, the Hindu god worshipped by many widows, is supposed to have spent his childhood. A tradition of persecution. Widows in India have always been subjected to rejection and persecution, with the practice of sati probably the oldest and clearest example. Outlawed by British colonisers in 1829, sati is an obsolete Indian funeral custom where a widow was expected to immolate herself on her husband’s pyre, or commit suicide in another way, shortly after his death. With her husband gone, the widow was supposed to have no reason to live.
Rebuilding a life. Faith against all odds. Solidarity and mutual aid. The face of goodness. A merciless destiny. One soul, one life path. Raising awareness and tolerance.
Arriving in Vrindavan, many widows are completely lost. They have to face the world alone, with no one to help them. Marginalized by society after being rejected by their families, they wait to die in a deep loneliness and cruel distress. But, little by little, welcomed in their widow communities, most manage to rebuild their lives and get out of their isolation. Gayatri is performing puja (morning prayer) at the Meera Sahbagini ashram, which was established 60 years ago and is home to 220 widows. “Every morning, we wake up at 5am. Some of us go to the banks of the Yamuna for washing and do a first puja ritual. Then, we return to the ashram, singing religious songs to worship Sri Krishna and [his partner] Radha.” After singing bhajans (religious songs) and praying together, the women start their daily activities. They cook, either for themselves or in groups of two or three, and then eat together in their rooms or in the ashram’s corridors. Afterwards, they read religious books and pray. It is undeniable that their faith immensely helps them to face their difficulties each day. Lalita, 72, has lived at Meera Sahbhagni ashram for 12 years. “I would never have thought that one day I would have had to beg for food. But when my husband died, I was 54 and I was thrown out of the house by my relatives. I had to live in the streets and then found a kind man who helped me to get a train ticket to Vrindavan. I came here and I never left.” Tulsi, 68, is singing bhajans at the ashram. Originally from a village near Kolkata, her in-laws took her inheritance when her husband died. Tulsi was forced to move with her children to a very poor area, and soon one of her sons took her to Vrindavan on the pretext of worshiping Lord Krishna. After visiting the temples, he told her that it was better for her to stay in Vrindavan, even though she didn’t want to. He left and never came back. She’s now been at the ashram for 12 years.
Shanti Padho Dashi is 91 years old and lives at Meera Sahbhagni ashram. She is the oldest resident of the ashram and comes from West Bengal. She came to Vrindavan 25 years ago. 
As India becomes more progressive, the situation for widows is slowly becoming better. But the shame of widowhood is so strong and has existed for so long that it won’t disappear quickly, especially in traditional rural environments. Dressed in white, widows are buying vegetables in the streets of Vrindavan. They have always been rejected by society; since they’re reputed to bring misfortune, some people even hide when they see a widow walking down the streets. But in recent years, local NGOs, such as Sulabh International, have been working with the widows to not only provide financial support, but also lead numerous projects and media actions across the country to raise awareness and tolerance for these discriminated people. Breaking free. Changing mentalities. Hope for tomorrow.
Holi and its overall significance within Indian society is the perfect opportunity for widows to state loud and clear their claim to catharsis and respect. During Holi, social barriers get broken down and people feast together, regardless of differences in age, sex and status. It’s the time when the castes mingle, where the lower people have the right to insult those whom they’ve had to bow to throughout the year. Here, the widows at Meera Sahbhagni asham celebrate Holi, the festival of colour. Although orthodox traditions forbid widows from taking part in the celebrations, mentalities are changing and the widows have started to defy the bans. “Today I am happy to have all these women around me, I am not alone anymore”, said Prema, 60. “We have learnt to live together, to help each other. We became friends, true friends, as we all know what we’ve all been through. We look ahead, we try to never look back. We never talk about the past.”

Nigerian woman, 25, becomes Argungu city leader

23 September 2016
Hindatu Umar assumed the position after the tenure of the local chairman expired. A 25-year-old woman has taken over as the head of a local authority in the mainly Muslim north of Nigeria. Hindatu Umar is the first woman and the youngest person to hold the position in Argungu city, in the north-western state of Kebbi. She is also the city's first unmarried local leader. The BBC's Abdullahi Kaura in Nigeria says her appointment is unprecedented. Some residents have complained, telling the BBC that Ms Umar "lacks experience and boldness". She had been the deputy chairperson and was promoted when the tenure of the local chairman expired. Our correspondent says that women in northern Nigeria usually remain in the background and rarely hold political office. Argungu city is one of the biggest and oldest councils in northern Nigeria and is famous for its annual fishing festival.

video - The real cost of giving birth: '$40 to hold my newborn baby'

Somalia Girls are playing football

Going the distance, from refugee to Olympic heroine
27 July 2016
In 1999, marathon runner Agueda Amaral was forced to flee from East Timor when she was caught up in the violence that followed her country's vote for independence from Indonesia. When the United Nations restored control, Agueda returned to find that her home had been burned to the ground and her sports gear, including her trainers, destroyed. But a few months later, she was tracked down by the International Olympic Committee, who wanted a small team from the world's youngest country to take part in the 2000 Sydney games. Agueda Amaral tells Witness about her journey to the Olympics and how the ending to her marathon captured attention the world over.

From teenage guerrilla to top athlete

6 November 2015
Ten years ago Mira Rai was a teenage guerrilla, wanted by Nepal's government. Now she's the country's most successful runner. Behind a steel gate on a dusty side street in Kathmandu, there's a rather good bar. It's run by the Belgian consulate and offers a superb selection of rare Trappist beers. It's an odd place to meet Nepal's next sporting superstar, a former child soldier who ran away from home to escape a life of repression and has since risen to the top of one of the most extreme sports on Earth. Two things strike you upon meeting this young athlete. First, there are those eyes - twinkling with self-amusement at an absurd life. Secondly, there's the fact that Mira Rai is a woman. Nepal has a shocking record on gender equality. The World Economic Forum puts the Himalayan republic 121st out of 136 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index, and women here are considered paraya dhan - someone else's property. Violence against women is rife, and Nepal's long-awaited new constitution denies unmarried females the right to pass on their citizenship to their children. It makes the fact that Nepal's new international sporting hero wears a skirt even more extraordinary. Mira Rai running up a mountain. In the village of Sanu Duma 9, high in Nepal's eastern region, opportunity never knocked for girls. While her brothers went to school, Rai was expected to stay at home and do the chores. Then she was supposed to get married and have children. Rai, however, had different ideas. "I would run to the market - three hours away - buy sacks of rice, then run back and sell them for profit," she says, flashing that wry smile. She forgets to mention that the bags weighed 28kg (60lbs), and she was just 11 years old. By her mid-teens, she had become what parents refer to as a handful, but while a rebellious streak in a Western 14-year-old might manifest itself as a matt-black bedroom or unsanctioned piercings, Rai expressed her defiance by joining Nepal's Maoist guerrillas. "I told my mum I was going camping," she shrugs. "I didn't contact her again for seven months." Photo - Mira as a soldier with a gun. It was then that she learned that her mother had attempted suicide in her absence. "She couldn't face doing the chores," jokes Rai, but that throwaway comment reveals the steeliness that has taken this waif-like 26-year-old to the top of her game. When Rai enlisted in 2003, the Maoists were on the run. The Nepalese army, backed by the US, India and UK, were hot on their heels. Summary executions, torture and disappearance were rife, and Rai describes a time of "constant uncertainty" that was "always dangerous". But what impressed this impossible child most were the insurgents' sports facilities. "They had football, volleyball and athletics," she says. "Amazing opportunities." When the war ended in 2006, she joined a government rehabilitation programme and continued running for fun. Her first race was a 21km event. With no money for food, she ran on an empty stomach and collapsed 400m from the finish line. When she moved to Kathmandu, charity from a kindly karate teacher allowed her to keep running. Coached by telephone, she would train on the capital's ring road - one of the most polluted stretches of tarmac in Asia. Mira running at the top of a mountain. Photo - Mira standing on a rock on a mountain. Then she discovered ultra-running - gruelling races of up to 80km or more in the extreme mountain terrain. Her first race - a 50km event in the Kathmandu Valley - was in March 2014. True to form, Rai turned up hungry, wearing trainers that cost $4 (£2.60). Japanese runner Miki Apreti recalls a "smiley, woefully under-equipped girl, like an elf running in the jungle". Halfway round, on the point of collapse, Rai borrowed 50 rupees (50 cents, 30p) to buy noodles and a carton of orange juice. And then won the race. Event organiser Richard Bull knew instantly he had found a prodigy. "I asked her what she needed to continue training," he says. "She just wanted money for food." Photo - Mira running in the mountains, drinking water. At Bull's instigation she then entered and won Nepal's 200km Mustang Mountain Trail Race. Then Bull hatched a plan to send her to compete in Europe. "It was a fraught time," he says. "Her visa arrived just six hours before she was due to fly. Then we realised she'd never been in an aeroplane before." But Rai took it in her stride, winning her two races. Victories in Hong Kong and seven other events followed. This year she entered the 82km Mont Blanc Skyrunner World Series. It's one of the toughest races in the world and she breezed it, coming home 21 minutes ahead of the runner up. Mira finishing the 57km Sellaronda Trail Running race in the Italian Dolomites in September 2014. Winning her first international race - 57km through the Italian Dolomites - in record time . With a sponsorship deal and the potential to become the most famous Nepali after Sherpa Tensing, Mira Rai's future looks increasingly dazzling. She giggles at that notion, but her smile is tinged with incredulity. "I began running to escape my future," she

A Society where Women Shine. World Assembly for Women - 2015

(Under this "Equality" label Women are persuaded to take the rule of this dying Planet into their hands and to continue to play the Planetary Game! A lot of words, but not much of a change for Women wordwide! It's an irony.
Why don't they do the changes in Japan now, but prepared to wait till April 2016 ? LM)

3 videos - Vol. 35 WAW!2015 -
Vol.1 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe -WAWTokyo2015  -

WAW! 2015: An innovative initiative for Women’s empowerment and gender equality

At the second annual World Assembly for Women 2015, held on 28 and 29th of August in Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaffirmed Japan’s leadership role in gender equality by enabling women to ‘shine,’ while influencers from all over the world hammered out practical action plans for the year. Also known as WAW! 2015, Day 1 included a public forum of speeches by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, esteemed world leaders at the forefront of gender equality, and panel discussions related to women, education and the economy. Day 2 featured high-level roundtable discussions and special sessions on women’s issues. Shinzo Abe: Now is the time for action. Women and Men Cooperating to Create a Better Society for All.
“World Assembly for Women in Tokyo: WAW! 2015” brought together 145 experts from Japan and 41 nations to discuss key issues related to gender equality and women’s issues. More than 2,000 people attended to observe the proceedings and participate in the discussions.
WAW! 2015, or the second annual gathering of the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo, kicked off August 28th with an opening speech from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who set the tone for the two-day meeting with an uncompromising stance. Starting with the symposium’s theme of ‘WAW! for All,’ he called it “a message of women and men alike cooperating to create a society in which it is easy for both women and men to live.”
The prime minister laid out the benefits to all of society in such a world. “When this happens,” he said, “both men and women will be able to make highly productive jobs compatible with their bountiful daily lives naturally while they are able to lead more fulfilled lives as individuals, as well as within their families and communities.” The prime minister’s remarks were designed to set at ease any men who may be skeptical of more women in the workplace. “The dynamic engagement of women will also enrich men’s lives,” he said. In a speech on the opening of the second day of WAW! 2015, Ms. Haruko Arimura, Japan’s Minister in charge of Women’s Empowerment, laid out her vision of success. “It is not just about making positive changes for women,” she explained, “but also making progress for men, the elderly, infants and children, people with disabilities and others.”

Shinzo Abe - Prime-Minister, Japan

Prime Minister Abe pointed out progress that has recently been made in the empowerment of women in the workplace in Japan. “Around one million women have newly entered the labor market, while the number of female corporate board members has also increased by roughly 30 per cent,” he said. The prime minister also expressed the need for legislation in order to hold the feet of business to the fire. “A new bill was enacted to promote the active engagement of women in society,” he said. “From April 2016, companies will be required to draw up and announce voluntary action plans incorporating numerical targets for promoting the hiring of women and the appointment of women to executive positions. True reform will not come about unless we have more women becoming leaders in their organizations, in addition to changes in men’s consciousness,” he insisted. Prime Minister Abe believes that the keys to success are through more diversity, which is already being recognized and demonstrating positive results. “Diversity in human resources gives rise to innovation,” he said. “In Japan too, a large number of companies have begun to notice this fact. Women and diverse human resources send out new goods and services to the market by making best use of their own particular strengths and knowledge.” In practice what this means is that Japan will no longer be able to accept business as usual, and Japanese organizations will be affected at the very core of their Beings.
“We will expand a corporate culture that values working efficiently within a limited number of hours,” Prime Minister Abe said. “Husbands will also actively take childcare leave and couples will share responsibility for household chores and child rearing. We will make this the ordinary practice in Japan.”
Global implications

Japan’s commitment to women extends to the world at large in a big way. Key to setting the nation on a sustainable path to gender equality as well as staking out a leadership role in the world is the nation’s alignment with the goals of UN Women, a United Nations entity working for the empowerment of Women. The prime minister was named as one of ten heads of state and government selected by UN Women to promote the dynamic engagement of Women through top-down means. He used the occasion of WAW! 2015 to reinforce Japan’s commitment the goals of UN Women, both within Japan through a national effort and on a global scale through increased ODA spending. Prime Minister Abe pledged more than 42 billion yen in assistance towards “high-quality education for women and girls so that they will be economically independent and able to determine the course of their own lives through their own volition.” The prime minister said, “Next year, Japan will assume the G7 presidency, and I intend to push the agenda on women forward vigorously at the Ise-Shima Summit” in Japan. This includes linking the outcome of WAW! 2015 to the summit. The outcome of WAW! 2015 is based on a ‘WAW! To Do’ list resulting from the exchange of ideas and common ground achieved by the many dignitaries, business leaders and gender equality experts who were the driving force of the symposium. Each session wrapped up with a ‘WAW! To Do’ list, which was verbalized by a designated official at the closing session of the symposium. Recommendations centered on action items at the government, business, societal and individual levels for changing minds and
overcoming challenges required for the empowerment of women to the good of society in Japan and indeed, worldwide.

Women have strength


video - WAW ! 2015 H.E. SIRLEAF interview  -
WAW! 2015 Keynote Speakers: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: President, Republic of Liberia, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Africa’s first democratically elected female head of state. Pioneers in Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Historical and inspirational figures alike kicked off the symposium with words of wisdom calling attention to women’s rightful role in society, the workplace and government. One of the most inspirational Women to participate in WAW! Tokyo 2015 was H. E. Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize Winner. She was without doubt the most historical figure, as Africa’s first democratically elected female head of state. President Sirleaf is known for ascending to leadership roles in international politics as well as the Liberian government, and has overcome numerous setbacks and challenges along the way. Over the past eighteen months, she has faced an epic crisis with the Ebola virus outbreaks, and has led her nation to the eradication of the epidemic. The WAW! symposium provided the president with the opportunity to provide her own unique insight as a decisive and influential leader. “I’m excited,” she said. “I feel like it’s a great moment of exhilaration for women, it’s a strong commitment on the part of the prime minister. Something good is happening in Japan as a result of the prime minister’s policy and in his effort to promote women. President Sirleaf is a firm believer in the implementation of measures that can be tracked so that governments can be held accountable for their actions. “We need strong intervention like what’s happening in Japan by Prime Minister Abe,” she said. “One needs a strong political commitment and quotas to ensure the removal of the historical inequities against women that exist.” The president pointed out the need to consistently “impose confidence in our women and girls at the household level,” as the ultimately leads to increased autonomy and self-esteem. “A woman with self-confidence is capable of managing herself, her family and her nation,” she said. President Sirleaf also acknowledged that, although there are still  numerous challenges facing women, initiatives like WAW! and Womenomics in Japan set the stage for a sustainable path forward.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; Executive Director, UN Women - video  Oct 25, 2015 - WAW! 2015 Ms. MLAMBO=NGCUKA interview  -

Appreciating women

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka participated in WAW! 2015 as a keynote speaker as well as in a high-level roundtable discussion called Engaging Men in Reforms. An inspirational figure, she has devoted her career to human rights, equality and social justice, and demonstrated strength and leadership during the struggle to end apartheid in her home country of South Africa. Originally a teacher, she has been a longtime champion of gender equality, and has played constructive roles in government, government civil society, and the private sector. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka rose to become Deputy President of South Africa, where she took charge of initiatives to combat poverty, especially among women, and bring the advantages of a growing economy to those in need. She expressed her appreciation for Japan’s support in this area, as well as the WAW! initiative and its alignment with the goals of UN Women. “It’s wonderful to be among the thought leaders here who are doing a lot of interesting things in the area of gender equality,” she said. “It affords us the opportunity as UN men and women to share the things that we are doing.” She continued, “I think one of the unique things about WAW! is also showing the importance of leaders leading  from the front on this issue, not to see it as an issue which belongs to a specific ministry.” Prime Minister Abe demonstrated his commitment by doing just that. “It is not very often that you have a prime minister staying in a woman’s conference and spending three days going from session to session making a contribution,” Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

WAW! 2015 Featured Leading Lights in Business, and Organisational Behaviour. High-level roundtable discussions brought together a mix of influencers to address gender equality issues facing Japan as well as the world at large, acknowledge common ground, and identify action points for moving forward. Haruno Yoshida; President & Representative Director, BT Japan. One need look no further than Haruno Yoshida to see the future of Japan. Ms. Yoshida chose a career in information technology that led her overseas early on. Having taken leadership positions in sales in major North American multinational corporations in the field, as well as at the New York office of NTT, Japan’s telecommunications giant, she returned to her home country and became an inspirational figure in a middle management position at the company’s Tokyo headquarters. BT Japan came calling in early 2012, where she assumed the role of president, responsible for driving the strategy and execution of all of the company’s business operations in Japan.

Video - WAW!2015 Ms. YOSHIDA interview -

Haruno Yoshida -  Women for the future

Haruno Yoshida

President and Representative Director, BT Japan Corporation, Vice Chairman of the board of councilors of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), and IT industry leader with experience in key managerial roles in Japan and abroad. For the first time everybody thinks that the female is a game changer, and probably our future. I feel the momentum. Ms. Yoshida chose a career in information technology that led her overseas early on. Having taken leadership positions in sales in major North American multinational corporations in the field, as well as at the New York office of NTT, Japan’s telecommunications giant, she returned to her home country and became an inspirational figure in a middle management position at the company’s Tokyo headquarters. BT Japan came calling in early 2012, where she assumed the role of president, responsible for driving the strategy and execution of all of the company’s business operations in Japan. This year Ms. Yoshida became a historical figure when Keidanren, the Japan Business Federation, which represents the interests of business, brought her on as its first female executive, as Vice Chairman of the federation’s board of councilors. Here she will take part in initiatives that aim to transform Japan’s business culture from the inside out. In his opening remarks at the WAW! 2015 symposium, Prime Minister Abe pointed out a key hurdle that must be overcome. He said, “Our greatest barrier is a working culture that endorses male-centered long working hours. If men themselves do not awaken to this fact and take action, we will not be able to eliminate this bad practice.” Ms. Yoshida, who participated in a high-level roundtable discussion at the symposium called Engaging Men in Reforms, agreed. “The way we work is not realistic,” she said. She expects Japan will change and quickly catch up with the West through smarter adoption of information technology to increase productivity, by applying the best practices built up over the last 40 years by countries overseas, and by taking advantage of the inherent diligence the Japanese demonstrate in carrying out goal-oriented initiatives.

Linda A. Hill - Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, author and expert on organizational behavior, and business consultant on leadership and innovation

Linda A. Hill

Video - WAW!2015 Dr. HILL interview

Innovating with Women

The wealth of thinkers and opinion leaders at WAW! 2015 included more than men and women focusing solely on women’s issues and gender equality. Also part of the mix were leaders with insight on how to optimize the impact women do and can make in organizations at large. One of these was Professor Linda A. Hill, an organisational behavior specialist at Harvard Business School, whose groundbreaking work, Collective Genius, sheds light on the role that diversity plays in leading to innovation. Professor Hill, who participated in the special session on Implementing Diversity and Innovation at the symposium, shared her unique insight, which aligns with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s confidence in the ability of Japanese companies, as well as governmental bodies, to transform and prosper through a diverse workplace where women are bringing “their own particular strengths and knowledge” to the table. “Diversity in human resources gives rise to innovation,” the prime minister said in his opening remarks at WAW! 2015. That will require a fundamental shift in the mindsets of not just men but women too, in relation to traditional perceptions of what constitutes effective work styles, especially where women are concerned, and how those are likely to change as more female role models assume positions of leadership in the workplace and inspire other women to also express their full potential. Professor Hill believes that Japanese leaders will need to embrace different work styles that some women are likely to bring to the workplace. “It’s not about selection, it’s about developing,” she said. “If you’re a man bringing women in, it’s not about finding the right woman who has the qualifications that make it look like she can be a leader, it’s more making sure you provide that woman with experiences that will allow her to use her own passions and talents to innovate and solve problems at work.”

Ugandan chess queen unfazed by Hollywood film - audio
2 Sept 2016
A Hollywood film about the young Ugandan chess champion Phiona Mutesi is due out this month with big name stars such as David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o. The Queen of Katwe is about how Phiona grew up in one of the Ugandan capital's poorest slums to become an international chess player. It is based on a book of the same name written by Tim Crothers, who told the BBC’s Newsday programme about Phiona and her ambitions to go to Harvard University. He said that in July he was surprised to hear that she hadn't seen any previews of the film and wasn't too bothered to do so, telling him: "Well, Tim, I know how the story goes." Listen to the whole interview: The inspirational story of Phiona Mutesi is being turned into a Hollywood film.

Video - "The Queen of Katwe"  Jul 21, 2014. A young girl from the slums of Uganda grows to become one of the unlikeliest chess champions in the world

Video - Queen of Katwe - Official Trailer.  May 10, 2016
Queen of Katwe is in theaters September 30! Queen of Katwe is the colorful true story of a young girl selling corn on the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. Directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) from a screenplay by William Wheeler (The Hoax) based on the book by Tim Crothers, Queen of Katwe is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher (The Darjeeling Limited) and John Carls (Where the Wild Things Are) with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers. The film stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo (Selma), Oscar® winner and Tony Award® nominee Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) and newcomer Madina Nalwanga. For 10-year-old Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga) and her family, life in the impoverished slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle. Her mother, Harriet (Nyong'o), is fiercely determined to take care of her family and works tirelessly selling vegetables in the market to make sure her children are fed and have a roof over their heads. When Phiona meets Robert Katende (Oyelowo), a soccer player turned missionary who teaches local children chess, she is captivated. Chess requires a good deal of concentration, strategic thinking and risk taking, all skills which are applicable in everyday life, and Katende hopes to empower youth with the game. Phiona is impressed by the intelligence and wit the game requires and immediately shows potential. Recognizing Phiona's natural aptitude for chess and the fighting spirit she's inherited from her mother, Katende begins to mentor her, but Harriet is reluctant to provide any encouragement, not wanting to see her daughter disappointed. As Phiona begins to succeed in local chess competitions, Katende teaches her to read and write in order to pursue schooling. She quickly advances through the ranks in tournaments, but breaks away from her family to focus on her own life. Her mother eventually realizes that Phiona has a chance to excel and teams up with Katende to help her fulfill her extraordinary potential, escape a life of poverty and save her family. Disney's Queen of Katwe will open in U.S. theaters on September 23, 2016.

Video - Life Stories: Queen of Katwe, Phiona Mutesi  Apr 22, 2015. Chess champion, Phiona Mutesi speaks of her love for the sport, how she started out, the places the sport has taken her, the success and the upcoming movie, Queen of Katwe in which Hollywood star, Lupita Ny'ongo will play the role of Phiona Mutesi's mother.

Defying tradition to become a pilot in Indonesia - 5 August 2016 - video
Indonesia is one of the most hazardous places in the world to fly. But Patricia Christabele, a 23-year-old pilot with the country's national carrier Garuda, flies small planes to remote and stunning islands, and loves it. She tells the BBC why she dreams of becoming Garuda's first female captain.

Video - All Women - «Kiss». Всем женщинам - «Поцелуй». Веселый мультик - Apr 25, 2016

Video - Fat ones (Жирные)

'I wanted to be first UAE female pilot' - 18 November 2013 - video
Hundreds of planes have been ordered at the Dubai Airshow with Gulf carriers easily the biggest customers. Boeing recently predicted that the expanding global aviation industry would need half a million new pilots over the next two decades - and 40,000 of them will be in the Middle east. Gulf airlines are addressing a potential pilot shortfall by recruiting and training their own nationals. One of the UAE's first female commercial pilots Shaima Rashed of Etihad Airways spoke to BBC Middle East Business Report.

These brave women have found a way to live alongside lions

Africa2016KeniaBraveWomen.jpg (4)  Africa2016KeniaBraveWomenSchool.jpg (2) Africa2016KeniaBraveSamburuWoman.jpg (2)  AfricaLions.jpg  AfricaLioness.jpg
3 August 2016
A male-dominated culture has meant that Samburu women rarely get a say in how their society handles big cats, but one project is trying to change that. Samburu women often encounter wildlife. Lionesses have a lot of power in lion society. The females typically work together to hunt down prey, and form crèches to look after their cubs. This cooperative behaviour brings in lots of food, and ensure that plenty of lion cubs survive to adulthood. The female lions' empowerment stands in stark contrast to the human societies that live alongside the lions in Kenya's Samburu National Reserve. There, as in many other cultures throughout history, women have been discouraged from taking control – in part due to a male-dominated culture. As it happens, lions – despite the lionesses' efforts – are vulnerable to extinction. So what might happen if we took a leaf out of the lions' book and began to allow women to make more decisions? One Kenyan lion conservation organisation, Ewaso Lions, decided to find out. Ewaso Lions helps local communities find ways to coexist with wildlife. This is crucial, because one of the greatest threats to lions is humans killing them. As some of Samburu's lions live outside formally protected areas, they often come into contact with the Samburu livestock. In retaliation for cattle killed by lions, the Samburu sometimes hunt the lions. The Mama Simba project began when local women went to Ewaso Lions asking to be educated. Mama Simba means "the Mother of Lions" in Maa, the local language. "The women had seen how warriors in their community were being engaged in conservation through another of Ewaso Lions's projects," says Heather Gurd, conservation manager at Ewaso Lions. "They were adamant that they could do just as good a job as the warriors if only they were given the chance." A group of Mama Simba participants, February 2016. Samburu women actually spend a great deal of time in wildlife areas whilst they collect firewood, fetch water and look after livestock. This means they often come into contact with animals like lions. Yet before this project, the women were rarely actively included in conservation activities. At the Mama Simba school. Ewaso Lions is educating the Samburu women in basic literacy, numeracy, and wildlife conservation. They also train them in beaded art craft, so that they can diversify their income and not depend solely on livestock. Since Mama Simba was launched in 2013, over 300 Samburu women have participated in the programme. There is a core group of 19 who spread the word. A Samburu woman making a beaded lion. "Empowerment means that women are given a chance to lead, like men do," says Ntomuson Lelengeju, a Mama Simba participant. "Women and men are now getting equal opportunities in terms of resource sharing," says Noldonyo Letabare, who also takes part. As well as benefiting the women, the project should also help the lions. To achieve this, the women are trained in how to better protect their livestock enclosures from predators. They also learn how to identify carnivore tracks, and tell Ewaso Lions about lion sightings and any conflicts that arise. A lion (Panthera leo) in Samburu National Reserve. It is too soon to tell whether this new project has benefited the lion population. But there is evidence that people's attitudes towards lions are becoming more positive. The Mama Simba uniform is bright red. "I have changed as a result of the Mama Simba programme," says Lelengeju. "I now cannot accept people to kill lions. Since joining the programme I have learned to love lions, unlike before," says Letabare. The Mama Simba project aims to empower women. "We have seen a real change in the confidence and enthusiasm that the ladies have," says Shivani Bhalla, executive director of Ewaso Lions. "They were once very quiet and shy, never speaking up at any community meetings or talking about wildlife. Now they are vocal about conservation."

Nigerian scientist turned opera star  - video
14 January 2016
The journey from scientist to one of the world's most sought-after sopranos is not a common one. Omo Bello was doing research into genetics in her native Nigeria when in 2006, she was awarded a scholarship to train as an opera singer in France. Five years later she graduated at the top of her class from the prestigious National Conservatory for Music and Dance. Since then, Ms Bello has carved out a striking reputation on the operatic stage all over the world. Here's her story.

The man who cycled from India to Europe for Love (astonishing story, LM)

16 Jan 2016
PK Mahanandia met Charlotte Von Schedvin in Delhi for the first time in 1975. Indian artist PK Mahanandia met Charlotte Von Schedvin on a winter evening in Delhi in 1975 when she asked him to draw her portrait. What eventually followed was an epic bicycle journey from India to Europe - all for love. Ms Von Schedvin was visiting India as a tourist when she spotted Mr Mahanandia in Delhi's Connaught Place district. He had made a name for himself as a sketch artist and enjoyed a good reputation in the local press. Intrigued by his claim of "making a portrait in 10 minutes", she decided to give it a try. But she wasn't impressed with the result and decided to come back the next day. PK Mahanandia in his makeshift studio. Mr Mahanandia had already made a name for himself through his sketches. The next day sadly, proved no better. In his defence, Mr Mahanandia says he had been preoccupied with a prediction his mother had made several years ago. As a schoolboy growing up in a village in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, he often faced discrimination from upper-caste students because he was a Dalit - considered to be at the bottom of India's caste hierarchy. Newspaper article about PK Mahanandia. Several newspapers wrote about his art in the 1970s. Whenever he felt sad, his mother would tell him that according to his horoscope, he would someday marry a woman "whose zodiac sign would be Taurus, she would come from a far away land, she would be musical and would own a jungle". So when he met Ms Von Schedvin, he immediately remembered his mother's predictions and asked her if she owned a jungle. Ms Von Schedvin, whose family comes from Swedish nobility, replied that she did own a forest and added that not only was she "musical" (she liked to play the piano) her zodiac sign was also Taurus. "It was an inner voice that said to me that she was the one. During our first meeting we were drawn to each other like magnets. It was love at first sight," Mr Mahanandia told the BBC. "I still don't know what made me ask her the questions and then invite her for tea. I thought she would complain to the police." But her reaction turned out to be quite the opposite. Charlotte Von Schedvin loved the Indian countryside . "I thought he was honest and wanted to know why he had asked me those questions," Ms Von Schedvin told the BBC. After several conversations, she agreed to visit Orissa with him. The first monument she saw there was the famous Konark temple.
"I became emotional when PK showed me the Konark. I had this image of the temple stone wheel framed in my student room back in London, but I had no idea where this place actually was. And here I was standing in front of it."
The two fell in love and returned to Delhi after spending a few days in his village. He also made portraits of politicians, including this one of acting Indian President BD Jatti.
"She wore a sari when she met my father for the first time. I still don't know how she managed. With blessings from my father and family, we got married according to tribal tradition," he said. Ms Von Schedvin had driven to Delhi with her friends from Sweden along the famous hippie trail - crossing Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan - to reach India in 22 days. She said goodbye to him to start her return journey, but made him promise that he would follow her to her home in the Swedish textile town of Boras. More than a year passed and the two kept in touch through letters. Mr Mahanandia however, did not have enough money to buy a plane ticket. So, he sold everything he owned, bought a bicycle and followed her along the same hippie trail. PK Mahanandia says he faced no difficulties in Afghanistan during his journey, which started on 22 January 1977 and he would cycle for around 70km (44 miles) every day.
"Art came to my rescue. I made portraits of people and some gave me money, while others gave me food and shelter," he said. Mr Mahanandia remembers the world as being very different in the 1970s. For instance, he did not need a visa to enter most countries. He made portraits of fellow artists, students and common people during his journey in Afghanistan. "Afghanistan was such a different country. It was calm and beautiful. People loved arts. And vast parts of the country were not populated," he said, people understood Hindi in Afghanistan, but communication became a problem once he entered Iran. "Again art came to my rescue. I think love is the universal language and people understand that."
Several hotels provided facilities like washing rooms and bicycle repairing on the hippie trail in Afghanistan. Those were different days. I think people had more free time then to entertain a wanderer like me." But did he ever feel tired?
"Yes, very often. My legs would hurt. But the excitement of meeting Charlotte and seeing new places kept me going," he said. He finally reached Europe on 28 May - via Istanbul and Vienna, and then travelled to Gothenburg by train.
PK Mahanandia continues to work as an artist in Sweden. After several cultural shocks and difficulties in impressing Ms Von Schedvin's parents, the two finally got officially married in Sweden.
"I had no idea about European culture. It was all new to me, but she supported me in every step. She is just a special person. I am still in love just as I was in 1975," he says. The 64-year-old now lives with Charlotte and their two children in Sweden and continues to work as an artist. PK Mahanandia and Charlotte Von Schedvin in 2014. But he still doesn't understand "why people think it was a big deal to cycle to Europe. I did what I had to, I had no money, but I had to meet her.
I was cycling for Love, but never loved cycling. It's simple."

The day Iceland's Women went on strike

Women Prime-Ministers :Thatcher, UK & Vigdis, Iceland
23 Oct 2015
Forty years ago, the women of Iceland went on strike - they refused to work, cook and look after children for a day. It was a moment that changed the way women were seen in the country and helped put Iceland at the forefront of the fight for equality. When Ronald Reagan became the US President, one small boy in Iceland was outraged. "He can't be a president - he's a man!" he exclaimed to his mother when he saw the news on the television. It was November 1980, and Vigdis Finnbogadottir, a divorced single mother, had won Iceland's presidency that summer. The boy didn't know it, but Vigdis (all Icelanders go by their first name) was Europe's first female president, and the first woman in the world to be democratically elected as a head of state. Many more Icelandic children may well have grown up assuming that being president was a woman's job, as Vigdis went on to held the position for 16 years - years that set Iceland on course to become known as "the world's most feminist country". But Vigdis insists she would never have been president had it not been for the events of one sunny day - 24 October 1975 - when 90% of women in the country decided to demonstrate their importance by going on strike.  Instead of going to the office, doing housework or childcare they took to the streets in their thousands to rally for equal rights with men. It is known in Iceland as the Women's Day Off, and Vigdis sees it as a watershed moment.
"What happened that day was the first step for women's emancipation in Iceland," she says. "It completely paralysed the country and opened the eyes of many men."
Banks, factories and some shops had to close, as did schools and nurseries - leaving many fathers with no choice but to take their children to work. There were reports of men arming themselves with sweets and colouring pencils to entertain the crowds of overexcited children in their workplaces. Sausages - easy to cook and popular with children - were in such demand the shops sold out.It was a baptism of fire for some fathers, which may explain the other name the day has been given - the Long Friday.
"We heard children playing in the background while the newsreaders read the news on the radio, it was a great thing to listen to, knowing that the men had to take care of everything," says Vigdis.
Vigdis Finnbogadottir
As radio presenters called households in remote areas of the country to gauge how many rural women were taking the day off, the phone was often answered by husbands who had stayed at home to look after the children.
As I talk to Vigdis in her home in Reykjavik, she has on her lap a framed black-and-white photograph of the rally in Reykjavik's Downtown Square - the largest of more than 20 to take place throughout the country.
Vigdis, her mother and three-year-old daughter are somewhere in the sea of 25,000 women, who gathered to sing, listen to speeches and talk about what could be done. It was a huge turnout for an island of just 220,000 inhabitants.
At the time she was artistic director of the Reykjavik Theatre Company and abandoned dress rehearsals to join the demonstration, as did her female colleagues.
"There was a tremendous power in it all and a great feeling of solidarity and strength among all those women standing on the square in the sunshine," Vigdis says. A brass band played the theme tune of Shoulder to Shoulder, a BBC television series about the Suffragette movement which had aired in Iceland earlier that year.
The Women's Day Off  Sticker distributed to participants - reading "Women's Day Off" . Women in Iceland got the right to vote 100 years ago, in 1915 - behind only New Zealand and Finland. But over the next 60 years, only nine women took seats in parliament. In 1975 there were just three sitting female MPs, or just 5% of the parliament, compared with between 16% and 23% in the other Nordic countries, and this was a major source of frustration. The idea of a strike was first proposed by the Red Stockings, a radical women's movement founded in 1970, but to some Icelandic women it felt too confrontational. "The Red Stockings movement had caused quite a stir already for their attack against traditional views of women - especially among older generations of women whom had tried to master the art of being a perfect housewife and homemaker," says Ragnheidur Kristjansdottir, senior lecturer in History at the University of Iceland.
But when the strike was renamed "Women's Day Off" it secured near-universal support, including solid backing from the unions.
"The programme of the event itself reflected the emphasis that had been placed on uniting women from all social and political backgrounds," says Ragnheidur.
Women's suffrage (right to vote) around the world
Iceland was not the first country to give women the right to vote, but it was well ahead of the curve. Photo - A woman casts her vote behind a screen at the constitutional assembly, during the Russian Revolution. A woman votes in Russia, 1917. New Zealand 1893
Finland 1906
Iceland 1915
Soviet Russia 1917
United States 1920
United Kingdom 1928 (limited suffrage from 1918)
Switzerland 1971
Among the speakers at the Reykjavik rally were a housewife, two MPs, a representative of the women's movement and a woman worker.
The final speech was given by Adalheidur Bjarnfredsdottir, head of the union for women cleaning and working in the kitchens and laundries of hospitals and schools.
"She was not used to public speaking but made her name with this speech because it was so strong and inspiring," says Audur Styrkarsdottir, director of Iceland's Women's History Archives. "She later went on to become a member of parliament."
Aðalheiður Bjarnfreðsdottir (on photo - centre). Members of the committee that prepared the "Women's Day Off". In the run-up to the event the organisers succeeded in prompting radio, television and national newspapers to run stories on low pay for women and sex discrimination. The story attracted international attention too. But how did the men feel about it?
Vigdis Finnbogadottir (left), the President of Iceland, meets British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Number 10 Downing Street in London, 17th February 1982.. Vigdis Finnbogadottir and Margaret Thatcher.
"I think at first they thought it was something funny, but I can't remember any of them being angry," says Vigdis. "Men realised if they became opponents to this or refused to grant women leave they would have lost their popularity."
There were one or two reports of men not behaving as Vigdis describes. The husband of one of the main speakers was reportedly asked by a co-worker, "Why do you let your woman howl like that in public places? I would never let my woman do such things." The husband shot back: "She is not the sort of woman who would ever marry a man like you."
Styrmir Gunnarsson was at the time the co-chief editor of a conservative newspaper, Morgunbladid, but he had no objection to the idea. "I do not think that I have ever supported a strike but I did not see this action as a strike," he says. "It was a demand for equal rights… it was a positive event."
No women worked at the paper that day. As he remembers it, none of them lost pay, or were obliged to take the day as annual leave, and they returned at midnight to help get the newspaper finished. It was shorter than usual, though - 16 pages instead of 24. "Probably most people underestimated this day's impact at that time - later both men and women began to realise that it was a watershed," he says. At the same time, he points out there have always been strong women in Iceland - something reflected in the (fictional) Icelandic Sagas.
"Our past is in our blood and through the centuries life was difficult in Iceland," Styrmir says. "Those who survived must have been strong."
The Women's Day Off is generally regarded in Iceland as a seminal moment, though at least one member of the Red Stockings regarded it as a missed opportunity - a nice party that did not really change anything. Vigdis disagrees.
 "Things went back to normal the next day, but with the knowledge that women are as well as men the pillars of society," she says. "So many companies and institutions came to a halt and it showed the force and necessity of women -
it completely changed the way of thinking."
Five years later, Vigdis beat three male candidates to the presidency. She became so popular that she was re-elected unopposed in two of the three next elections. Other landmarks followed. All-women shortlists made an appearance in the 1983 parliamentary election, and at the same time a new Party, the Women's Alliance, won its first seats. In 2000, paid paternity leave was introduced for men, and in 2010 the country got its first female prime minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir - the world's first openly gay head of government. Strip clubs were banned in the same year. Saadia Zahidi, head of Gender Initiatives at the World Economic Forum (WEF) says Iceland still has further to go.
"While more women than men are enrolled in university, the workplace gender gap persists," she says.
"Women and men are nearly equally present in the labour force - in fact women are the majority across all skilled roles - but they hold about 40% of the leadership roles and earn less than men for similar roles."
Nonetheless, Iceland has topped the WEF's Global Gender Gap Index since 2009. And if at the time of the Women's Day Off only three of the 63 members of parliament were women, the figure is now 28, or 44%.
"We say in Iceland, 'The steps so quickly fill up with snow,' meaning there is a tendency to consign things to history," says Vigdis. "But we still talk about that day - it was marvellous."
A century ago, Iceland banned all alcoholic drinks. Within a decade, red wine had been legalised, followed by spirits in the 1930s. But full-strength beer remained off-limits until 1 March 1

'This is what it's like to pee after female genital mutilation'
24 April 2016
Some 200 million women and girls across 30 countries have been affected by female genital mutilation (FGM). But how do survivors live with the pain of peeing, periods and childbirth?
"The first time you notice your physicality has changed is your pee," says Hibo Wardere. Hibo, now 46, was subjected to what is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "type three" mutilation when she was six. This means all of her labia were cut off and she was then stitched together, leaving a tiny hole she compares to the size of a matchstick. Her clitoris was also removed. She grew up in Somalia, where 98% of women and girls between 15 and 49 have had their genitals forcibly mutilated. "An open wound rubbed with salt or hot chilli - it felt like that," she recalls. "And then you realise your wee isn't coming out the way it used to come. It's coming out as droplets, and every drop was worse than the one before. This takes four or five minutes - and in that four or five minutes you're experiencing horrific pain."
Hibo came to the UK when she was 18, and within months visited a doctor to see if they could relieve the pain she experienced when she passed urine and during her periods. Her translator didn't want to interpret her request, but the GP managed to understand. Eventually Hibo underwent a procedure called defibulation, when the labia is opened surgically. This widened the hole and exposed her urethra. It is by no means an outright fix, and can never restore sensitive tissue that was removed, but it did make it slightly easier to urinate. Sex, however, presented a new hurdle. "Even if the doctor has opened you up, what they've left you with is a very tiny space," says Hibo.
"Things that were supposed to be expanding have gone. So the hole that you have is very small and sex is very difficult. You do get pleasures - but it's once in a blue moon."
The trauma of the assault also had a bearing on intimate situations with her partner.  First you have a psychological block because the only thing you associate with that part of you is pain.
"First you have a psychological block because the only thing you associate with that part of you is pain," says Hibo.
"The other part is the trauma you experienced. So anything that's happening down there, you never see it as a good thing."
Figures released by Unicef in February raised the number of estimated FGM survivors by around 70 million to 200 million worldwide, with Indonesia, Egypt and Ethiopia accounting for half of all victims. In the UK, FGM has been banned since 2003. Last year the government introduced a new law requiring professionals to report known cases of FGM in under-18s to the police. Activists and the police have raised awareness about the risk of British school girls being flown out of the UK specifically to be stripped of their genitals during what is known as the "cutting season" over the summer. However, little is known about how the millions of survivors - including at least 137,000 in the UK - cope. The repercussions of a procedure that either involves removing the clitoris (type one), removing the clitoris and the inner smaller labia (type two), removing the labia and a forced narrowing of the vaginal opening - usually, as in Hibo's case, removing the clitoris too (type three), or any kind of harmful mutilation in the genitals (sometimes referred to as type four), are wide-ranging. The symptoms are not normally discussed in the open, partly because FGM is so normalised among some communities that women don't think of it as a problem, or even connect their myriad health problems with their experience of FGM as a child, says Janet Fyle, professional policy advisor at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). Last year, Fyle was awarded an MBE for her work in tackling FGM. I remember taking the pillow and just putting it on my face because I didn't want the humiliation, the pain. The day-to-day reality for survivors can be bleak. The NHS lists urinary tract infections, uterine infections, kidney infections, cysts, reproductive issues and pain during sex as just some of the consequences. A "reversal" surgery, as defibulation is sometimes termed, can help to relieve some of the symptoms by opening up the lower vagina.
"But it's not as simple as carrying out the physical care, which we can carry out as clinicians," says Fyle, who comes from Sierra Leone, where FGM is widespread.
"It's about the long-term (psychological) consequences - some people describe it as worse than PTS (post-traumatic stress), which soldiers in the battlefield have."
Tools used for FGM procedures in Kenya
When Hibo became pregnant for the first time in 1991, aged 22, she says she was tortured by the idea of medical staff looking at her genitals, which had been physically altered.
"I remember taking the pillow and just putting it on my face because I didn't want the humiliation, the pain," she says. "Knowing all those eyes were going to look at me, was too much."
During the birth, she experienced flashbacks of being cut - which is a common experience of survivors. At the time, she was the first FGM survivor that staff at the hospital in Surrey had seen. Neither she, nor they, had any idea how to try to make the birth easier.
"Before they could even think of what was going to happen and how they're going to deliver this boy, my son came, They had to cut me. My son actually ripped parts of me as well because he was coming with such a force," Hibo recalls.
"They were still very shocked and didn't know what to do with me. It was horrific, and I ended up having a long time to recuperate."
An extract from Hibo Wardere's book, Cut: One Woman's Fight Against FGM in Britain Today:
"What I saw took the breath from my body. The woman was right. There was only one word for it - devastating. For the first time, I could see what I had been left with. It was just a hole. Everything else had been chopped off and sealed up. Despite the doctor opening my skin up to expose my urethra so I could wee, there were no fleshy labia like other women had. No protection, no beauty, the area between my legs looked like dark brown sand that someone had dragged a faint line through, then as if someone had poked a stick into the sand, there at the bottom of the line was a hole. My vagina. I could see it was a little bigger than it had originally been stitched thanks to the doctor who opened me slightly. But there it was. The only clue that I was a woman. The rest of my genitals had been sliced off and discarded."
Despite the experience, Hibo went on to have six more children, and the subsequent births were much less traumatic. Her second child was delivered via Caesarean section, and she praises the NHS for the increased awareness and support for FGM victims. In the UK, a defibulation procedure is now offered as a matter of course before birth, along with psychological support and contact with survivor groups. Midwives say this is vital to those women who may have suppressed memories of the attack and find it difficult to even recognise what was done to them. Hibo credits her husband Yusuf, who she met just a few months after having her medical procedure in the UK, for his unwavering support in her decision to have surgery and speak out about a practice that is so common in the community she is from. Somali woman protest against FGMImage copyright EPA Image caption A protest against FGM in Somalia. Despite her worst fears, she has found more happiness and intimacy than she ever thought possible. But the couple and their family have not managed to escape the expectations of the culture they are from. Hibo's decision to make a stand against FGM meant confronting her mother's beliefs and put a huge strain on their relationship. In her early years, they had "such a close bond". And yet it was her mother who took Hibo to have her genitals cut off and sewn up, reinforcing a widespread cultural belief that such a practice is essential for girls' reputations and future marriage prospects.
"My mum did love me, and she did this out of love," says Hibo now. "She thought this was protection for me. She thought she was protecting the family honour. She herself was a victim - [and] her mother, her grandmother. Generations have undergone FGM - they didn't see anything wrong with it. "They thought if you weren't cut, you're going to be talked about, you're going to be stigmatised, no-one is going to marry you. You're going to be seen as someone who sleeps around with other men. For them, it was protection for the family and protection for you." Hibo and her mother managed to resolve any tension before she passed away. But her in-laws have been "up in arms" about the couple's decision not to cut their three girls. "They believe that I have done something wrong for the kids, they believe that my girls - who's going to marry them?" says Hibo. "And here I was thinking; 'Do I care about the marriage part, or do I care about their health? Do I want them to suffer what I've suffered? Do I want them to go through what I go through?' No way." Girls in parts of Tanzania are often forced to undergo female genital mutilation, even though the practice is illegal. Faced with FGM, many had nowhere to turn - until now. A safe house has opened in the north of the country to offer protection when they need it most.

Joanna Giannouli, 27, has a condition which means she has no womb, cervix and upper vagina
18 Apr 2016
Here, she explains the challenges of a syndrome that affects around one in 5,000 women. When we first saw the doctor, my father put on a brave face. My mother, on the other hand, didn't take it so well. She blamed herself for the past 10 years. It was really heartbreaking to see her like that. We didn't talk about it much for the first five years. I wasn't able to talk about it. I felt destroyed and incredibly weak. My mother believes she may have done something wrong in her pregnancy. I've explained to her that she didn't do anything wrong, it was just genes. It's a condition that is stigmatised. The most hurtful thing was when I was abandoned after my former partner found out. I was engaged when I was 21, living in Athens. When I told my fiance about the condition, he broke off the engagement. That all belongs in the past and I am OK now. For the past five years, fortunately, I have had a stable and loving relationship. He knew from the beginning that I have this condition and he chose to stay with me. He knows that maybe the future will be without children. He's OK with it. I'm also OK with that. I am one of the luckiest. My mother took me to our family doctor when I was 14 because I still wasn't menstruating. He didn't examine me because he wouldn't touch my private parts and when I became 16 he sent me to a hospital to be checked out. They realised that I didn't have a vaginal tunnel and I had Rokitansky syndrome. Because I was born without a functional vagina, the doctors had to make one in order for me to have sex. Joanna was 17 when she was diagnosed with Rokitansky syndrome.
It went well, really well. I stayed in a hospital for about two weeks, in order to recover. Then I had to be about three months laying on a bed - I couldn't get up. I did vaginal exercises in order to expand my new vaginal tunnel. The first sign of it is you have primal amenorrhea - you don't have any menstruation at all. Apart from that, you cannot have sexual intercourse. That's why I had major surgery aged 17. The doctors made me a new one. It was a revolutionary procedure in Athens. The new vagina the doctors made was narrow and small, and it caused me a lot of pain while having sex, and I had to expand the perineum by doing vaginal exercises. It's a small area underneath the vagina. It's skin, it's tissue, and they had to cut it more in order to expand the entrance, as I call it. After that I was OK physically, but I was not OK emotionally. It's a burden, like something that you cannot get rid of it. I had partners who emotionally abused me about this condition. I couldn't have a stable relationship for many years because of that. It is a haunting and unbearable situation. It steals your happiness, your mentality, your chances of having a good and stable relationship. It leaves you with a huge void that cannot be filled, it fills you with anger, guilt, and shame. Apart from that, it was hard afterwards. It was just taking a toll on me emotionally, psychologically - it was really, really hard. Well, it's been almost 10 years. I'm still feeling bad about it but I'm not ashamed any more, it's been way too long. And I've realised that I cannot change it, it's just the way it is, I have to embrace it and live with it. For the first few years, and still sometimes, I thought I was worthless. I was a lost soul for many years. It can destroy your life. It puts you in a really hard position. I battled depression, anxiety, panic attacks, you name it. It taught me a lesson. Although I don't believe in God, I do believe that this was a huge wake-up call - never take anything for granted.
I was reborn. It gave me a new life, a new identity. It changed the course of my life. Before, I was a typical teenager with ups and downs. Afterwards, I became really, really mature. I grew up rapidly. I am thankful for that. This defined me as a person. I am living each day as it is. I am not making any future plans because I don't know if I'm going to be alive. Not many people know this about me. I wanted to keep it a secret and my mum told family members. It wasn't the best experience because people pity you. I don't want people to feel sorry for me. I'm not dying, I'm not in danger. People had this pitiful look. It made me feel sadder about myself. I couldn't talk about it because in Athens - in Greece generally - people are really close-minded. Sometimes it felt like I was living in the Middle Ages. I couldn't find a support group in Greece, I couldn't find anyone else to talk about it. And I needed someone to talk about it! It was huge, and most women with the condition are ashamed, really. I've found a couple of women that were willing to talk about it, and after a while they disappeared because they were ashamed of it. I would love to be a mother in some way, be it a biological, a surrogate mother or a foster mum. A mother is not the one who gives birth but is the woman who cares for a child. At this stage of my life, I'm not thinking about it but maybe in the future I will have children. I love kids, we will see. It is liberating to talk about it. I want to support every woman that has this condition because I have been through hell and I know what problems this can cause. Many women have committed suicide because of this. It can be really depressing. I found the strength and courage because I want to help other women in the same position because if we don't help each other then who will? It gives me strength when I talk about it.

Judit Polgar (a Woman) is the 'Queen of Chess' who defeated Kasparov (a man)
10 Feb 2016
Hungarian chess champion Judit Polgar started playing chess from a very young age and almost immediately it became clear she had a special talent for the sport. As a young girl, she soon swapped playing people of her own age to experienced adult professionals around the world. Initially, Polgar was dismissed by many in the sport as not up to the challenge of playing against men. Then world champion Garry Kasparov was the most renowned player to question whether a woman could beat a man. However, during the 2002 'Russia - versus the Rest of the World' tournament, Polgar got the ultimate revenge by beating Kasparov. She was the first woman to do so. Judit Polgar spoke to Witness about their rivalry and that historic moment in the sport of chess. Here are Casparov's words: "She (Judit Polgar) has fantastic chess talent, but she is, after all, a woman" and "No woman can sustain" a prolonged battle".

POLGAR - KARPOV Chess Match 1998, Budaspest.  Apr 17, 2012. At the age of 22 Judit Polgár played an eight game match of "action" chess, which is 30 minutes for the entire game, against Anatoly Karpov in June 1998 in Budapest. She won the match 5--3 by winning two games with the remaining ending in draws. At the time Karpov was the FIDE World Champion.

16 year old GM Judit Polgar plays GM Ron W. Henley on Live TV

Judit Polgar defeating Kasparov - Russia vs Rest of the World

17-year-old Judit Polgar defeating World Champ Boris Spassky. After the Fischer - Spassky rematch in 1992, Judit Polgár played an exhibition match in February against former World Champion, Boris Spassky in Budapest in 1993. She won the match 5½--4½.

Judit Polgar - Wijk aan Zee, 2003.   Oct 10, 2011.  Judit Polgar played chess in Netherland, Wijk an Zee in 2003. Her opponents were for expamle Karpov, Ponomariov, Anand, Kramnyik.

Polgár Chess Day 2011

Judit Polgar - Prima primissima (HUN)

Judit Polgar - Khanty-Mansiysk olimpia 2010

JUDIT POLGAR Olympic Champion - 1988, Thessaloniki. In 1988, Judit and her sisters along with Ildikó Mádl, represented Hungary in the Women's section of the 28th Chess Olympiad in Thessaloniki. The International Chess Federation would not permit the Polgárs to play against men in team competitions. Prior to the tournament, Eduard Gufeld, Soviet GM and team coach for the Soviet women's team, dismissed the Polgárs. "I believe that these girls are going to lose a good part of their quickly acquired image in the 28th Olympiad", he said. "Afterward we are going to know if the Hungarian sisters are geniuses or just women!" However, Hungary's women's team won the championship which was the first time it was not won by the Soviet Union. Judit played board 2 and finished the tournament with the highest score of 12½--½ to win the individual gold medal. She also won the brilliancy prize for her game against Pavlina Angelova.

Judit Polgar - l'Europe s'élargit 2004 (Fra)

Judit Polgar en San Isidro

Judit Polgar - Silver with Men team - Chess Olympiad - Bled, 2002. After gaining two gold medals with the women team, Judit Polgar went to win a silver medal in the men's team competition in the Olympiad, in 2002, in Bled. While the Hungarians had the best won--loss record of the tournament as a team and lost only a single game of the 56 they played, they had won most of their

Video - Magnus Carlsen vs Judit Polgar: World Blitz Championship!

 Jun 27, 2014 - A full video of the game between Magnus Carlsen and Judit Polgar played in the 14th round of the FIDE World Blitz Championship in Dubai, on June 20h, 2014.

14 Year Old Female Chess Prodigy - Irina Krush - Sicilian

Garry Kasparov

More info about 
Judit Polgar from wikipedia
Strongest female player ever

Judit Polgár (born 23 July 1976) is a Hungarian chess grandmaster. She is generally considered the strongest female chess player in history. In 1991, Polgár achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, at the time the youngest to have done so, breaking the record previously held by former World Champion Bobby Fischer. She is the youngest ever player to break into the FIDE Top 100 players rating list, being ranked No. 55 in the January 1989 rating list, at the age of 12. She is the only woman to qualify for a World Championship tournament, having done so in 2005. She was the number 1 rated woman in the world from January 1989 up until the March 2015 rating list, when she was overtaken by Chinese player Hou Yifan; she was the No. 1 again in the August 2015 women's rating list, in her last appearance in the FIDE World Rankings. She has won or shared first in the chess tournaments of Hastings 1993, Madrid 1994, León 1996, U.S. Open 1998, Hoogeveen 1999, Sigeman & Co 2000, Japfa 2000, and the Najdorf Memorial 2000. Polgár is the only woman to have won a game against a reigning world number one player, and has defeated eleven current or former world champions in either rapid or classical chess: Magnus Carlsen, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, Boris Spassky, Vasily Smyslov, Veselin Topalov, Viswanathan Anand, Ruslan Ponomariov, Alexander Khalifman, and Rustam Kasimdzhanov. On 13 August 2014, she announced her retirement from competitive chess. In June 2015, Polgar was elected as the new captain and head coach of the Hungarian national men's team. On 20 August 2015, she received Hungary's highest decoration, the Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary.
Early life
Polgár was born on 23 July 1976 in Budapest, to a Hungarian Jewish family. Polgár and her two older sisters, Grandmaster Susan and International Master Sofia, were part of an educational experiment carried out by their father László Polgár, in an attempt to prove that children could make exceptional achievements if trained in a specialist subject from a very early age. "Geniuses are made, not born," was László's thesis. He and his wife Klára educated their three daughters at home, with chess as the specialist subject. László also taught his three daughters the international language Esperanto. They received resistance from Hungarian authorities as home-schooling was not a "socialist" approach. They also received criticism at the time from some western commentators for depriving the sisters of a normal childhood. Traditionally, chess had been a male-dominated activity, and women were often seen as weaker players, thus advancing the idea of a Women's World Champion. However, from the beginning, László was against the idea that his daughters had to participate in female-only events. "Women are able to achieve results similar, in fields of intellectual activities, to that of men," he wrote. "Chess is a form of intellectual activity, so this applies to chess. Accordingly, we reject any kind of discrimination in this respect." This put the Polgárs in conflict with the Hungarian Chess Federation of the day, whose policy was for women to play in women-only tournaments. Polgár's older sister, Susan, first fought the bureaucracy by playing in men's tournaments and refusing to play in women's tournaments. Susan Polgár, when she was a 15-year-old International Master, said in 1985 that it was due to this conflict that she had not been awarded the Grandmaster title despite having made the norm eleven times.
Polgár has rarely played in women's-specific tournaments or divisions and has never competed for the Women's World Championship: "I always say that women should have the self-confidence that they are as good as male players, but only if they are willing to work and take it seriously as much as male players." While László Polgár has been credited with being an excellent chess coach, the Polgárs had also employed professional chessplayers to train their daughters, including Hungarian champion IM Tibor Florian, GM Pal Benko, and Russian GM Alexander Chernin. Susan Polgár, the eldest of the sisters, 5½ years older than Sophia and 7 years older than Judit, was the first of the sisters to achieve prominence in chess by winning tournaments, and by 1986, she was the world's top-rated female chess player. Initially, being the youngest, Judit was separated from her sisters while they were in training. However, this only served to increase Judit's curiosity. After learning the rules, they discovered Judit was able to find solutions to the problems they were studying, and she began to be invited into the group. One evening Susan was studying an endgame with their trainer, a strong International Master. Unable to find the solution, they woke Judit, who was asleep in bed and carried her into the training room. Still half asleep, Judit showed them how to solve the problem, after which they put her back to bed. László Polgár's experiment would produce a family of one international master and two grandmasters and would strengthen the argument for nurture over nature, but also prove women could be grandmasters of chess.

Boris Spasski
Child prodigy
Trained in her early years by her sister Susan, who ultimately became Women's World Champion, Judit Polgár was a prodigy from an early age. At age 5, she defeated a family friend without looking at the board. After the game, the friend joked: "You are good at chess, but I'm a good cook." Judit replied: "Do you cook without looking at the stove?" However, according to Susan, Judit was not the sister with the most talent, explaining: "Judit was a slow starter, but very hard-working." Polgár described herself at that age as "obsessive" about chess. She first defeated an International Master, Dolfi Drimer, at age 10, and a grandmaster, Lev Gutman, at age 11. Judit started playing in tournaments at 6 years old, and by age 9, her rating with the Hungarian Chess Federation was 2080. She was a member of the chess club in Budapest where she would get experience from master level players. In 1984, in Budapest, Sophia and Judit, at the time 9 and 7 years of age, respectively, played two games of blindfold chess against two masters, which they won. At one point, the girls complained that one of their opponents was playing too slowly and suggested a clock should be used. In April 1986, 9-year-old Judit played in her first rated tournament in the U.S., finishing first in the unrated section of the New York Open, winning US$1,000. All three Polgár sisters competed. Susan, 16, competed in the grandmaster section and had a victory against GM Walter Browne and Sophia, 11, finished second in her section, but Judit gathered most of the attention in the tournament. Grandmasters would drop by to watch the serious, quiet child playing. She won her first seven games before drawing the final game. Although the unrated section had many of the weaker players in the Open, it also had players of expert strength, who were foreign to the United States and had not been rated yet. Milorad Boskovic related a conversation with Judit's sixth-round opponent, a Yugoslav player he knew to be a strong expert: "He told me he took some chances in the game because he couldn't believe she was going to attack so well." Not able to speak English, her mother interpreted as she told a reporter her goal was to be a chess professional. When the reporter asked her if she would be world champion one day, Judit answered: "I will try. In late 1986, 10-year-old Judit defeated 52-year-old Romanian IM Dolfi Drimer in the Adsteam Lidums International Tournament in Adelaide, Australia. Edmar Mednis said he played his best game of the tournament against Judit: "I was careful in that game...Grandmasters don't like to lose to 10-year-old girls, because then we make the front page of all the papers."
In April 1988, Polgár made her first International Master norm in the International B section of the New York Open. In August 1988, she won the under-12 "Boys" section of the World Youth Chess and Peace Festival in Timișoara, Romania. In October 1988, she finished first in a 10-player round-robin tournament in London, scoring 7–2, for a half point lead over Israeli GM Yair Kraidman. With these three results, she completed the requirements for the International Master title; at the time she had been the youngest player ever to have achieved this distinction. Both Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov were 14 when they were awarded the title; Polgár was 12. It was during this time that former World Champion Mikhail Tal said Polgár had the potential to win the men's World Championship. Judit was asked about playing against boys instead of the girls' section of tournaments: "These other girls are not serious about chess...I practice five or six hours a day, but they get distracted by cooking and work around the house."
In November 1988, Judit and her sisters, along with Ildikó Mádl, represented Hungary in the Women's section of the 28th Chess Olympiad in Thessaloniki. The International Chess Federation would not permit the Polgárs to play against men in team competitions. Prior to the tournament, Eduard Gufeld, Soviet GM and team coach for the Soviet women's team, dismissed the Polgárs: "I believe that these girls are going to lose a good part of their quickly acquired image in the 28th Olympiad...Afterward we are going to know if the Hungarian sisters are geniuses or just women!" However, Hungary's women's team won the championship, which marked the first time it was not won by the Soviet Union. Judit played board 2 and finished the tournament with the highest score to win the individual gold medal. She also won the brilliancy prize for her game against Pavlina Angelova... Judit's quiet and modest demeanour at the board contrasted with the intensity of her playing style. David Norwood, British GM, in recalling Judit beating him when he was an established player and she was just a child, described her as "this cute little auburn-haired monster, who crushed you". British journalist Dominic Lawson wrote about 12-year-old Judit's "killer" eyes and how she would stare at her opponent: "The irises are so grey, so dark, they are almost indistinguishable from the pupils. Set against her long red hair, the effect is striking."
Before age 13, she had broken into the top 100 players in the world and the British Chess Magazine declared: "Judit Polgár's recent results make the performances of Fischer and Kasparov at a similar age pale by comparison." British GM Nigel Short called Judit "one of the three or four greatest chess prodigies in history". The other great chess prodigies were Paul Morphy, José Capablanca, and Samuel Reshevsky. However, not everyone was as enthusiastic, and she also had to face prejudice because of her sex. For example, Kasparov expressed doubts at one point: "She has fantastic chess talent, but she is, after all, a woman. It all comes down to the imperfections of the feminine psyche. No woman can sustain a prolonged battle." Later in life, however, Kasparov revised his opinion: "The Polgars showed that there are no inherent limitations to their aptitude—an idea that many male players refused to accept until they had unceremoniously been crushed by a twelve-year-old with a ponytail."
In 1989, Polgár tied with Boris Gelfand for third in the OHRA Open in Amsterdam. By now, numerous books and articles had been written about the Polgár sisters, making them famous even outside of the world of chess. In 1989, American President George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara met with the Polgárs during their visit to Hungary. Although not released until 1996, in 1990 a documentary about children playing chess, Chess Kids, featuring Polgár, was filmed. In 1990, Judit won the Boys section of the under-14 in the World Youth Chess Festival in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Also in 1990, Judit and her sisters represented Hungary on the Olympic women's team winning the gold medal. As of 2013, it is the last women-only tournament in which Judit would ever participate.
In December 1991, Polgár achieved the grandmaster title by winning the Hungarian National Championship, at the time the youngest ever at 15 years, 5 months to have achieved the title. This beat Fischer's record by a month. Hungary, one of the strongest chess-playing countries, had all but one of their strongest players participate in that year's championship, as only Zoltán Ribli was missing. Going into the last round, Polgár needed only a draw to achieve the GM title, but she won her game against GM Tibor Tolnai to finish first, with six points in nine games. In January 1991, Judit's sister Susan had also earned the GM title. Susan had the distinction of being the first woman to earn the GM title by achieving three GM norms and achieving a rating over 2500 as previous female GMs, Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze, were awarded the title by winning the Women's World Championship. In 1993, Polgár became the first woman to ever qualify for a men's Interzonal tournament. In March, she finished in a four-way tie for second place in the Budapest Zonal and won the tiebreaking tournament. She then confirmed her status as one of the world's leading players, narrowly failing to qualify for the Candidates Tournaments at the rival FIDE and PCA Interzonal tournaments. In the summer of 1993, Bobby Fischer stayed for a time in the Polgár household. He had been living in seclusion in Yugoslavia due to an arrest warrant issued by the United States for violating the U.N. blockade of Yugoslavia with his 1992 match against Spassky, and for tax evasion. Susan Polgár met Bobby with her family and persuaded him to come out of hiding "in a cramped hotel room in a small Yugoslavian village". During his stay, he played many games of Fischer Random Chess and helped the sisters analyse their games. Susan said, while he was friendly on a personal level and recalled mostly pleasant moments as their guest, there were conflicts due to his political views. On the suggestion of a friend of Fischer, a match of blitz chess between Fischer and Polgár was arranged and announced to the press. However, problems ensued between Fischer and László Polgár and Fischer cancelled the match, saying to a friend on whether the match would take place, "No, they're Jewish."
In the summer of 1994, Polgár had the greatest success of her career to that point, when she won the Madrid International in Spain. In 1995, the Isle of Lewis chess club in Scotland attempted to arrange a game between Polgár and Nigel Short in which the famous Lewis chessmen would be used... Polgár won the double round-robin tournament of four GMs, scoring five points in the six games and winning both her games against Short.
Polgár is the strongest female chess player of all time. In August 1996, she participated in a very strong 10-player tournament in Vienna. There was a three-way tie for first between Karpov, Topalov and Boris Gelfand and a three-way tie for fourth between Kramnik, Polgár and Lékó. In December 1996, Polgár played a match in São Paulo against Brazil's champion Gilbert Milos. The four games were played at 30 moves an hour with 30 minutes for the remainder of the game. Polgár won two, drew one and lost one and won $12,000 in prize money. "There has long been a lively debate about who is the strongest player of all", wrote GM Robert Byrne in his New York Times column of Aug. 26, 1997.
"Prominent candidates are Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov, Jose Raul Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine or Emanuel Lasker. But there is no argument about the greatest female player: she is 21-year-old Judit Polgár."
In June 1998 in Budapest, Polgár played an eight game match of "action" chess, which is 30 minutes for the entire game, against Anatoly Karpov. She won the match 5–3 by winning two games with the remaining ending in draws. At the time Karpov was the FIDE World Champion. In August 1998, Polgár became the first woman to ever win the U.S. Open held at the Kona Surf Resort in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. She shared the tournament victory with GM Boris Gulko as each scored 8–1. Typical of her aggressive style was her victory against GM Georgi the European Teams Championship in Batumi, Georgia, also in January, she won the gold medal... In October 1998, Polgár won the VAM four-grandmaster tournament in Hoogeveen, Netherlands...
In April and May 2000, Polgár won one of the strongest tournaments ever held in Asia. The Japfa Classic in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, was an event of 10 players in which included Alexander Khalifman–at the time FIDE world champion– and Anatoly Karpov–his predecessor.  Going into the last round four players, Polgár, Khalifman, Karpov and Gilberto Milos were tied, but Polgár won her game over Braziliam GM Milos while Khalifman and Karpov played against each other in a draw. Polgár finished clear first, winning the $20,000 first place prize money. At the end of May, she won the Sigeman & Company International Tournament in Malmö, Sweden. In September 2000, she shared first place in the Najdorf Chess Festival with Viktor Bologan, ahead of Nigel Short and Anatoly Karpov. In September 2002, in the Russia versus the Rest of the World Match, Polgár finally defeated Garry Kasparov in a game. She won the game with exceptional positional play. Polgár proceeded with a line which Kasparov has used himself. The game helped the World team win the match 52–48. Upon resigning, Kasparov immediately left by a passageway barred to journalists and photographers. Kasparov had once described Polgár as a "circus puppet" and asserted that women chess players should stick to having children. Polgár called the game, "One of the most remarkable moments of my career." The game was historic as it was the first time in chess history that a female player beat the world's No. 1 player in competitive play.
In 2004, Polgár took some time off from chess to give birth to her son, Olivér. She was consequently considered inactive and not listed on the January 2005 FIDE rating list. Her sister Susan reactivated her playing status during this period, and temporarily became the world's No. 1 ranked women's player again. She did not play at the 2006 Linares tournament because she was pregnant again. On 6 July 2006, she gave birth to a girl, Hanna. Polgár participitated in the FIDE world blitz championship on 5–7 September 2006 in Rishon Le Zion, Israel. Blitz chess is played with each player having only 5 minutes for all moves. The round-robin tournament of 16 of some of the strongest players in the world, concluded with Alexander Grischuk finally edging out Peter Svidler in a tie-break to win the tournament. Polgár finished tied for fifth/sixth place, winning $5,625 for the three-day tournament. Polgár tied with Boris Gelfand with 9½ points and won her individual game against Viswanathan Anand, at the time the world's No. 2 player. In October 2006, Polgár scored another excellent result: tied for first place in the Essent Chess Tournament, Hoogeveen, the Netherlands.
In November 2010, Polgár won the four-player rapid tournament which was held to celebrate the National University of Mexico's 100th anniversary. Polgár won a close opening match against Vassily Ivanchuk. She then crushed Veselin Topalov, a former world champion and ranked No. 1 in the world in 2009, 3½–½ to win the tournament. On 2 April 2011, Polgár finished in a four-way tie for first in the European Individual Chess Championship in Aix-les-Bains, France.  Polgár became the first woman ever to finish in the top three of the male championship.  On 2 April 2011,  Polgár was praised for her creative attacks and endgame technique. Polgár became the first woman ever to finish in the top three of the male championship. On 5 October 2013, Polgár played Nigel Short in the eighteenth edition of's Death Match. The final score was 17½-10½ in Polgár's favor. They played 28 games in total, separated into three stages of increasingly faster time controls, the first being 5+1, the second 3+1 and finally 1+1. Polgár later remarked on her Facebook page that "it was great fun to play against Nigel..." Nigel in turn tweeted in jest, "Such bad chess. I should go and hang myself..."

Anatolii Karpov
Playing style
While having a solid understanding of positional play, Polgár excels in tactics and is known for an aggressive playing style, striving to maximize the initiative and actively pursuing complications. The former World Champion Garry Kasparov wrote that, based upon her games, "if to 'play like a girl' meant anything in chess, it would mean relentless aggression." In her youth, she was especially popular with the fans due to her willingness to employ wild gambits and attacks. As a teenager, Polgár has been credited with contributing to the popularity of the opening variation King's Bishop's Gambit. Polgár prefers aggressive openings... she has also said her opening choices will also depend upon her trainer. Jennifer Shahade, writer and two-time U.S. women's chess champion, suggested that the influence of Polgár as a role model may be one of the reasons women play more aggressive chess than men. Describing an individual encounter with Polgár, former U.S. Champion Joel Benjamin said, "It was all-out war for five hours. I was totally exhausted. She is a tiger at the chessboard. She absolutely has a killer instinct. You make one mistake and she goes right for the throat."
Polgár is especially adept at faster time controls. When she was still a youth, Der Spiegel wrote of her, "her tactical thunderstorms during blitz games have confounded many opponents, who are rated higher." Polgár has spoken of appreciating the psychological aspect of chess. She has stated preferring to learn an opponent's style so she can play intentionally against him or her rather than playing "objective" chess. In her 2002 victory over Kasparov, she deliberately chose a line Kasparov had used against Vladimir Kramnik, employing the strategy of forcing the opponent to "play against himself". Kasparov's response was inadequate and he soon found himself in an inferior position. In an interview regarding playing against computers she said, "Chess is 30 to 40% psychology. You don't have this when you play a computer. I can't confuse it.
Chess professional
"You have to be very selfish sometimes", said Polgár in speaking of the life of a professional chess player. "If you are in a tournament, you have to think of yourself—you can't think of your wife or children—only about yourself." When asked in 2002 if she still desired to win the world championship she said, "Chess is my profession and of course I hope to improve. But I'm not going to give up everything to become world champion; I have my life. Polgár has said she does not have a permanent coach although she does have help from GM Lev Psakhis or GM Mihail Marin. She said she rarely uses a second and when she travels to tournaments it is usually her husband who accompanies her. Polgár said she has changed how she prepares for tournaments.
"I make more use of my experience now and try to work more efficiently so that my efforts aren't wasted", she said in 2008.
Concentrating on her two children left Polgár with little time to train and play competitively and her ranking dropped from eighth in 2005 to the mid-50s in 2009. However, as of September 2010 Polgár remained the only woman in the top 100 and still the only woman to have ever made the top 10. Comparing motherhood to playing chess, Polgár has said that a chess tournament now "feels like a vacation." When asked why she came back to chess after taking time off to care for her children, she said, "I cannot live without chess! It is an integral part of my life. I enjoy the game!"
Despite being the highest-rated woman for twenty years, Polgár has never competed for the women's world championship and in a 2011 interview was asked about this possibility. Polgár said that in the past she has never been interested in competing for it, but in recent years "the mentality of a couple of the women players has changed". Polgár said that for her to consider competing it would have to be a challenge and "if I get an extremely nice offer just to play for the title."
Polgár authored a children's book on chess, Chess Playground. Her sister Sofia provided illustrations. In recent years, Polgár designed a chess programme for the older students of a kindergarten school in Budapest, Hungary. In March 2013 she was awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary Commander's Cross with Star, one of Hungary's highest awards, "for her worldwide acknowledged life achievement as an athlete, for promoting the game of chess and for her efforts to promote the educational benefits of chess." In August 2015, she received the Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary, the highest State Order that can be made to a Hungarian civilian."

slim women's segregation in UK communities must end - Cameron (but their government doesn't pay for free english courses for migrants anymore! LM)
18 January 2016
...The government says 22% of Muslim women living in England speak little or no English - a factor it argues is contributing to their isolation. Segregation, the prime minister says, is allowing "appalling practices" such as female genital mutilation and forced marriage to exist, and increasing vulnerability to recruitment by so-called Islamic State - also known as Daesh. He is also announcing a review of the role of Britain's religious councils, including Sharia courts, in an effort to confront men who exert "damaging control over their wives, sisters and daughters"... Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Cameron said the push on language was "about building a more integrated, cohesive, one nation country where there's genuine opportunity for people". He said some "menfolk" in Muslim communities were fostering segregation by preventing women from learning English or leaving home alone, and that could not be allowed to continue. There is "a connection with combating extremism" too, he argued, and improving English was important "to help people become more resilient against the messages of Daesh". New rules will mean that from October, people coming to the UK on a five-year spousal visa will have to take a test after two and a half years to show they are making efforts to improve their English. Asked what would happen to those who failed, Mr Cameron told Today: "They can't guarantee that they'll be able to stay. "It is tough. But in the end it is not enough just to say the government is going to spend more money and it is our responsibility. People coming to our country, they have responsibilities too."
The BBC's political correspondent Alex Forsyth said the government was absolutely not suggesting people could be deported if they failed to reach the required level, but that language skills would be one factor taken into account when deciding whether to extend a person's right to remain. Dal Babu, a former chief superintendent with the Metropolitan Police who now works with families whose children have gone to fight with IS, told Today the investment in language lessons was welcome.
But he added: "My concern is how we have conflated the issue of learning English with stopping radicalism and extremism... to conflate the two is unhelpful." Mr Babu also said he did not recognise the figure of 22% as the proportion of Muslim women without good English - instead quoting a figure of 6%, cited by racial equality think tank the Runnymede Trust.

Maximum Mensa score for girl aged 11 from Isleworth -  video  (recommended article)
7 January 2016
Eleven-year-old Anushka Binoy has scored the maximum 162 to get into the high-IQ society Mensa. She told BBC Asian Network's Anisa Kadri she was "flabbergasted" when she walked into the exam hall as everyone was much older than her. Anushka, from Isleworth, west London, says she loves creative writing and wants to join the society's specialist group.

Terror in Europe: European cities review NYE celebrations - video
31 December 2015
Cities across Europe have been forced to review, cancel or scale-back New Year's Eve celebrations over terror attack fears. The mayor of Brussels cancelled all plans for events, and police arrested six people on Thursday in connection with an alleged plot to target the city on New Year's Eve.

Teaching migrants how to behave

Former Finland's Prime Minister - Tarja Halonen
22 Jan 2016
Migrants arriving in Finland are being offered classes on Finnish values and how to behave towards women. Concerned about a rise in the number of sexual assaults in the country, the government wants to make sure that people from very conservative cultures know what to expect in their new home. Johanna is one of those energetic, animated teachers whose cheerful energy lures even the most reluctant pupil into engaging with the lesson. She uses both her hands to stress her meaning and she always softens any difficult points with a smile. "So in Finland," she says softly, "you can't buy a wife. A woman will only be your wife if she wants to be - because here women are men's equals." Her pupils, all recently arrived asylum seekers at this reception centre hidden away in the snowy depths of the Finnish forest, watch her carefully - and I watch them. Some of the young Iraqi men, who already speak good English and passable Finnish, nod sagely. Others, particularly the older men, stare at one another with raised eyebrows as Johanna's words are translated into Arabic for them. One man, hunkered down inside his black ski jacket seems to be taking notes while there's a faint smile on the lips of the only head-scarfed young woman in the room. Raasepoori reception centre in the Finnish forest . "But you can go out to the disco with a woman here," adds Johanna brightly. "Although remember, even if she dances with you very closely and is wearing a short skirt, that doesn't mean she wants to have sex with you." A Somali teenager pulls his woolly hat over his ears and cradles his head in his hands as if his brain can't cope with all this new information. "This is a very liberal country," he says incredulously. "We have a lot to learn. In my country if you make sexy with a woman you are killed!" He turns to his neighbour, a Malian man of a similar age to gauge his reaction. "It's quite amazing," the Malian nods. "In my country a woman should not go out without her husband or brother." Woman at a disco in Finland . Johanna turns her attention to homosexuality and the Iraqi men on the back row - it's always the back row - begin to giggle and snigger. It might seem like a bit of a pantomime, but reception centres in Finland take these voluntary manners and culture classes extremely seriously. If men arriving from very different and conservative cultures are not immediately made aware that Finland has its own set of customs and rules which must be respected, then they will never integrate, warns Johanna.
The men may groan when she tells them that Finnish men share the housework, but they no longer baulk when they see their taxi driver is a woman. Since the autumn, when Johanna first started giving these classes, female asylum seekers frequently approach her to complain that their husbands are not treating them in the Finnish way. The men are also versed in Finnish criminal law so they know exactly what to expect if they touch a woman inappropriately. And that's why these classes are backed by the interior ministry and the police. Last autumn three asylum seekers were convicted of rape in Finland, and at the new year there was a series of sexual assaults and harassments similar to those in Cologne and Stockholm. Victims reported that the perpetrators were of Middle Eastern appearance - something Helsinki's deputy chief of police, Ilkka Koskimaki decided to go public with. "It's difficult to talk about," he admits as we drive in a patrol car through the icy streets of the city. "But we have to tell the truth. Usually we would not reveal the ethnic background of a suspect, but these incidents, where groups of young foreign men," as he puts it, "surround a girl in a public place and harass her have become a phenomenon."
Refugees walk from a public transport centre to a reception centre in Tornio, north-west Finland, September 2015. More than 32,000 migrants arrived in Finland in 2015. The police van pulls up at a downtown reception centre where Koskimaki's preventive policing team give similar classes to Johanna's. A jumble of migrant men smoking on the snowy steps in flip-flops, hastily scarper indoors, clearly alarmed by the police presence. A muscly Iraqi man in gym kit approaches me cautiously and asks me in a whisper why I feel the need to visit the centre with three police bodyguards. Please, he pleads, please don't think all asylum seekers are dangerous because of a few criminals. The lesson at Raasepoori reception centre is drawing to a close and the asylum seekers have been given optional homework to help them read up on Finland's sexual equality laws. As we leave the class, an Iraqi man in a colourful bomber jacket shakes my hand. "It's great in Finland," he says "But when I marry, my wife will be a housekeeper who will cook the food I like - and she certainly won't go to disc

Video - Неприязнь к беженцам дошла до Бaффало -  Jan 31, 2016. В американском городе Бaффало приезжие подвергаются нападениям, а местное население относится к ним с опаской. В 2016 году правительство США планирует впустить в страну до 85 тысяч беженцев, однако американцы этому не рады.

Video - Жительницы Германии берут уроки самообороны для защиты от беженцев  Jan 30, 2016. 8 февраля в Кёльне пройдет традиционное карнавальное шествие, к которому приковано особое внимание после новогодних нападений на жительниц города со стороны беженцев. По последним данным, в полицию уже поступило более 700 заявлений от женщин, пострадавших от сексуальных нападений.

Migrant crisis: More than 10,000 children 'missing'
31 January 2016
...Some migrant boys say they have no choice, but to sell sex in order to survive... Many Nigerian girls are told they must pay traffickers thousands of euros or their families will be harmed...

Australian MPs are allowed to breastfeed in Parliaments of Australia

MP - Carolina Bescansa Breastfeeding In Parliament, Spain, 2010; MP - Licia Ronzulli, Breastfeeding In Parliament, Italy, 2012
2 February 2016
Members of Parliament attend the first Parliamentary sitting of 2016 at Parliament House in Canberra. The changes were approved on the first day of the parliamentary year. The Australian House of Representatives has changed its rules to allow lawmakers to breastfeed and bottle-feed in the chamber. Under the old rules, MPs could only take babies into the public galleries or offices of the parliament building. The leader of the house welcomed the changes to "antiquated" practices. Breastfeeding in parliament is a controversial issue in many countries, and lawmakers have been criticised for taking their babies to sessions. The new regulations in Australia mean MPs' infants will no longer be considered as "visitors", banned from entering the chamber of the lower house. The changes were approved after a recommendation from a parliamentary committee. "No member male or female will ever be prevented from participating fully in the operation of the parliament by reason of having the care of a baby," House Leader Christopher Pyne said. "There is absolutely no reason that rules should remain in place which make life in politics and the parliament more difficult for women."
Forty of the 150 members of the House of Representatives are women, and three have had babies since March, the Associated Press news agency said. Four other MPs are reportedly due to become fathers. Last year, Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer was reportedly advised to express more milk in order to not miss sessions in parliament.
'Risk ridicule'
The subject is a sensitive issue in many parliaments around the world. In January, Spanish MP Carolina Bescansa, from the Podemos (We Can) party, was both criticised and commended for by taking her baby into parliament and breastfeeding him. Iolanda Pineda, of the Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC), also took her baby into Spain's upper house of parliament in 2012. Spanish MP of the Podemos party Carolina Bescansa is seen with her baby at her seat at Parliament. Spanish MP Carolina Bescansa caused a stir by breastfeeding him in parliament Licia Ronzulli sits with her baby daughter as she votes in the European Parliament in 2010. Italian politician Licia Ronzulli was first pictured with her baby in the European parliament in September 2010 when the child was six weeks old. Last year a group of MPs in the UK called for a ban on new mothers breastfeeding their babies in the House of Commons chamber to be overturned. However others warned it would risk ridicule from the tabloid press.

Beata Szydlo: Polish miner's daughter set to be PM
26 October 2015
Beata Szydlo of PiS at party rally, 22 Oct 15. Beata Szydlo is seen as a skilful - if less than charismatic - campaigner . Conservative Beata Szydlo is no new rising star of Polish politics but she is poised to oust a woman rival - Ewa Kopacz - from the prime minister's office. The Law and Justice Party (PiS) - eurosceptic and strong on traditional values - made a dramatic comeback in Sunday's general election. Ms Szydlo, 52, has been a conservative MP for a decade. But she impressed many Poles and her party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, earlier this year by running Andrzej Duda's successful presidential campaign. A relatively unknown MEP, Mr Duda surprised almost everyone by beating the popular incumbent, Bronislaw Komorowski, in May. During an energetic campaign, Mr Duda travelled the country, with Mrs Szydlo by his side, meeting and listening to as many Poles as he could. Ms Szydlo's role in his success was recognised when Mr Kaczynski appointed her the party's candidate for prime minister. "The fresh, moderate face of the Polish right. She is the hard-working, skilful and intelligent woman behind Andrzej Duda's spectacular victory in the presidential race," said Marek Magierowski, President Duda's public diplomacy adviser. That "fresh" face is important here - it sets her apart from the governing centre-right Civic Platform which, after eight years in office, lost much support. But she also contrasts with her boss, Mr Kaczynski.
'Daddy was a miner' Mr Kaczynski, a 66-year-old bachelor, is a divisive figure. He is not afraid to accuse his political opponents of being on the side of the former communist police and, more recently, he warned that immigrants were bringing diseases with them from the Middle East. Civic Platform election poster in Warsaw. Staunchly pro-EU Civic Platform, led by Ewa Kopacz, has been in power for eight years. Led by Mr Kaczynski, Law and Justice had lost every major national election since 2007 until he stepped aside to allow Andrzej Duda to run for president this year. Like Mr Kaczynski, Ms Szydlo stresses the importance of traditional Roman Catholic family values and the need to help the many who feel they have not benefited from Poland's impressive economic growth during the past two decades. But her tone is more measured. She was born and raised near the southern Polish coal-mining town of Brzeszcze. "I remember my warm family home with affection," she writes on her webpage. "There was no lack of support, nor discipline. My parents worked hard. Daddy was a miner," she said. She says she enjoyed reading and played handball during her student days in Krakow's Jagiellonian University, where she met her husband, Edward. They have two sons. She became the youngest mayor in Malopolska province at the age of 35, and later joined Law and Justice, where she rose to become a deputy leader. "Never a cabinet member, she'll face a steep learning curve as prime minister. Nevertheless, her views on the economy, a mixture of welfare and laissez-faire, have been her best asset during the campaign - at least in the eyes of the conservative electorate, appalled by the scale of corruption and indolence of the outgoing government," Mr Magierowski said.
Back-seat driver?
Some critics, however, question her independence with Mr Kaczynski in the back seat. Jaroslaw Kaczynski has been undiplomatic on Germany, migrants and some other topics. A recent Civic Platform TV campaign spot shows Mr Kaczynski making several gaffes, followed by Ms Szydlo repeating "the chairman is always right". In 2005, concerned that Poles would not accept both himself and his identical twin, Lech, in the country's top two jobs, Jaroslaw stood aside to help Lech win election as president. Jaroslaw Kaczynski selected the relatively unknown Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz for prime minister, who lasted just eight months before he made way for his boss. One of those critics is columnist Konstanty Gebert. "She won't last long. She is a creation of chairman Kaczynski and she serves at his pleasure," he told the BBC. "She has proven to be as uncharismatic as Prime Minister Kopacz, which is no mean feat. She will be replaced as soon as Kaczynski decides to reshape the cabinet."

Washington Major is a black Female

В Сальвадоре женщинам запрещают беременеть из-за лихорадки зика
В Сальвадоре женщин призвали воздержаться от беременности в 2016 и 2017 годах из-за эпидемии лихорадки зика. Заражение этим вирусом в период беременности может привести к тяжелым врожденным порокам развития и даже гибели младенца. "Хотели бы предложить всем женщинам детородного возраста с осторожностью подходить к планированию семьи и избегать беременностей в этом и будущем году", — цитирует ТАСС заявление заместителя министра здравоохранения Сальвадора Эдуардо Эспиноса. Лихорадку зика переносят комары Aedes Aegypti, и, как правило, она не представляет опасности. Симптомы — умеренное повышение температуры, головные боли и боли в мышцах и суставах — проходят за несколько дней. Однако в период беременности вирус является крайне опасным для ребенка. Первые случаи инфекции зика отмечены в Бразилии в мае 2015 года, теперь же вирус обнаружен в Панаме, Парагвае, Мексике, Венесуэле, Гватемале, Сальвадоре, Суринаме и Колумбии.

Arrested after falling for another woman
28 January 2016
When Sanjida left home to study, she met the person she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. The only problem - her partner was another woman, and same-sex marriage is not accepted in Bangladesh. Now, instead of finding happiness, she's facing criminal charges, accused of abduction. In January 2013, Sanjida, a 20-year-old Bengali Muslim woman travelled from her village in south-western Bangladesh to a small town, to continue her studies. Her father, a schoolteacher, had chosen to send his cleverest child to college so she could help lift the family out of hardship. The town of Pirojpur, where Sanjida moved to study Bengali literature, resounds with rickshaw bells, the Muslim call to prayer and Hindu temple hymns.
Sanjida heard of a room for rent in the family home of a Hindu potato seller, Krishnokanto. Impressed by Sanjida's studiousness and "good character", he asked her to help his youngest daughter, Puja, with her studies. Sanjida at the temple complex, where she went with Puja. Though Krishnokanto's family liked her, they found her openness and the way she dressed in jeans and T-shirts a little odd for a young woman from such a traditional village. In April 2013, during the Bengali New Year festival, Sanjida was in charge of taking a group of girls to the fair. When it was time to leave, she went into 16-year-old Puja's room.
"She was brushing her hair in front of a fan. She asked me to sit on the bed. Her back was turned toward me," Sanjida remembers."She was wearing an olive green blouse and petticoat. The back of the blouse had two strings that were hanging loose. At that instant, I fell in love with her." To start with, Sanjida kept her feelings to herself. But later on that day something happened that convinced her Puja had similar feelings for her.

Serbian hermit Marija Zlatic gives away inheritance fortune

Serbia - Marija Zlatic
22 January 2016
Marija Zlatic, 86, is seen in her house in the remote mountainous area of the eastern Serbian town of Boljevac on January 21, 2016. Marija Zlatic told Serbian media that she needed only bread, water and wood. A Serbian woman living as a hermit inherited almost a million Australian dollars ($703,000, £490,000) from her husband - only to give it all away. Marija Zlatic, 86, lives in a mud hut in mountainous eastern Serbia and heard five years ago that her estranged husband, living in Australia, had died. She tasked a neighbour with finding out more information in 2011, and learned of her fortune late last year. Marija has since donated all the money to the community that looks after her.
"I don't need my money," she told the B92 website (in Serbian). "It's enough for me to have bread, water and wood so I can keep warm in winter. "Where I am going soon I do not need money, so I gave it away. They need it more."
Marija told the website she and her husband, Momcilo, moved to Guildford in Western Australia in 1956. He worked as a carpenter in a factory, and she as a housewife, but Marija returned to Serbia after 18 months to care for her ailing mother.
Marija never returned to Australia after her mother's death, but kept in contact by letter with Momcilo, who she said was keen to return to Serbia once he retired. Marija Zlatic, 86, peeks out of her house in the remote mountainous area of the eastern Serbian town of Boljevac on January 21, 2016. Marija (in doorway) said her dogs remained her best friends . Word reached Serbia that Momcilo went on to own cattle ranches - something Marija did not believe. In 2011, Marija heard rumours he had died. She asked her neighbour, named only as M, to search for more information. M told the Vecernje Novosti newspaper (in Serbian) that she hit dead-ends with the Australian embassy in Belgrade and the Serbian embassy in Australia. But she was able to confirm Momcilo's death through lawyers in Australia, and, after a four-year search, received confirmation of his wealth last year. Marija said his ranches were worth close to A$3m ($2.1m, £1.5m) but the inheritance was reduced to A$940,000 once taxes were deducted. M said that Marija promised her 30% of the inheritance for her work. But M told Serbian media other members of the community had not given her what she had been promised. Marija's neighbours continue to visit her home and chop wood for her to burn, she said.

Why South African mayor offers virgin scholarships - video
10Feb 2016
South African mayor (Woman) awards virgin scholarships in bid to curb HIV. A scheme which offers female students scholarships to girls in rural South Africa if they can prove they are virgins has been condemned by human rights groups. The BBC's Nomsa Maseko visited the school to find out more. Thubelihle Dlodlo is nervous about leaving home in Emcitsheni village in rural KwaZulu-Natal. The 18-year-old has won a prized scholarship, but there is a catch: she only qualifies for the funding if she keeps her virginity.
"Remaining a virgin is my only chance to get an education, because my parents can't afford to take me to school," she says. To continue receiving her funding, Ms Dlodlo has to undergo regular virginity tests but she says she does not mind.
"Virginity testing is part of my culture, it is not an invasion of my privacy and I feel proud after I'm confirmed to be pure."
Thubelihle Dlodlo says she wants to be a role model. The age of consent in South Africa is 16 years, though there is an exception which makes it legal for those older than 12 and younger than 16 to have sex with each other. Even with a strict interpretation of the law, Ms Dlodlo is already more than two years over the age of consent, but is only just starting her university career. But activists argue these tests are intrusive and that it is not fair to link opportunity to education and sex in this way:
"What is really worrying is that they are only focusing on the girl child and this is discriminatory and will not address problems with teenage pregnancy and HIV infection rates," says Palesa Mpapa from campaign group People Opposing Women Abuse.
"It's not only the girl that is to blame," she says. Thukela municipality mayor Dudu Mazibuko, who introduced this special category dedicated to virgin girls, disagrees.
"The scholarship is not a reward, but a lifelong investment in the life of a girl, we are also not condemning those, who've made different choices, because we accommodate them in other scholarships," she said. The council offers more, than 100 scholarships, 16 of which have been given to virgin female students.
Culture and tradition - Photo - maidens at the reed dance for Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithin.
In this part of the country, virginity testing is common practice. In Zulu culture, virginity testing is done by elderly women. It qualifies Zulu maidens to participate in the annual Reed Dance, which takes place every September at Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini's royal palace. Students selected for the scheme have already received virginity tests so they can take part in the annual reed dance. This practice is not against the law in South Africa, but it has to be done with consent. Community leader Dudu Zwane has made it her mission to encourage young girls to abstain from sex. Affectionately known as "Mum Dudu", the 58-year-old gives talks at schools.
"It's very important for these girls to focus on their studies and stay away from boys," she says. Virginity testing in not illegal in South Africa, where Dudu Zwane is a respected virginity tester in the small town of Ladysmith. The retired nurse also conducts virginity tests on young women. She agrees that her methods are not scientific, but says she looks out for certain signs to prove that the girl has not had sex.
"The social standing of young women, who remain virgins, increases and many girls take pride in their results after being tested," she said. Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini recently questioned the merits of virginity testing.
The practice "compliments other harmful practices such as female genital mutilation", she said in a statement which upset traditionalists. In rural parts of KwaZula-Natal, virginity is celebrated and remaining "pure" is a source of pride for families.
Ms Dlodlo says her friends are also virgins and envy her for being awarded the scholarship. She says she does not have a boyfriend, as she doesn't want to find herself in a position, where she is pressured to have sex. "I want to be a role model", she says.
Teenage pregnancy in South Africa

Phumla Tshabala with her newborn baby, 2013: 100,000 South African teenagers became pregnant
2012: 81,000 teenage pregnancies
2011: 68,000 teenage pregnancies
180 out of 1,000 pupils become pregnant or make someone pregnant. Teenage mothers account for 36% of maternal deaths every year. Source: Human Sciences Research Council, World Bank; Stats SA (South Africa), 2013.
Virginity testing is seen by some as the answer to stop the increasing numbers of teenage pregnancy and HIV and Aids. Teenage pregnancy is on the rise in South Africa. In 2013, a survey released by Stats SA as part of its General Household found, that teen pregnancies had risen to nearly 100,000, up from 68,000 just two years earlier. The South African Council for Educators and the education department labelled the figures an unprecedented crisis. This is despite the fact that the country's schools offer sex education and that free maternal care is also available nationwide. South Africa already has the highest number of people living with HIV in the world, but what is even more alarming is that the highest new HIV infections are amongst young women aged 15-24.

Women of Africa: Kenyan gives up pay to teach in schools
25 November 2015
Jacqueline Jumbe-Kahura helps Kenyan teachers overcome the challenges that many face by providing vital training, resources and access to support networks. An experienced teacher and social worker of 20 years, Mrs Jumbe-Kahura left her well-paid job at a child rights organisation to return to her first love: Teaching. Named as one of the top 10 finalists of the Global Teacher Prize this year, she is a volunteer at two schools in Kilifi County, where she encourages smaller groups and more interactive learning, such as field trips, to inspire pupils' creativity. She also sits on Kilifi County Education Board, which manages teaching in more than 400 schools and also runs her organisation Lifting the Barriers, which supports hundreds of pupils with everything from uniforms and sanitary facilities to sexual health education and careers coaching. Women of Africa is a BBC season recognising inspiring women across the African continent. The first series, Africa's Unsung Heroes, introduces eight women who are making a difference in their country - and beyond.

Women of Africa: Inspiring SA women to become engineers  - video
2 December 2015
South African civil engineer Naadiya Moosajee co-founded non-profit organisation WomEng to help develop the next generation of female engineers in Africa. One in 10 engineers in South Africa are women - but Ms Moosajee wants that proportion to be much higher. Thousands of girls are going through the organisation's fellowship programme, which includes practical workshops in skills development, training and networking. She says: "It's such a proud moment for me to have these girls come up to me and say: "Naadiya, you have changed my life. I'm an engineer because of you." WomEng is currently working across South Africa and Kenya, with the aim of replicating its programmes across Africa and the globe. Women of Africa is a BBC season recognising inspiring women across the African continent. The first series, Africa's Unsung Heroes, introduces eight women who are making a difference in their country - and beyond.

Australian of the Year is equality activist Gen David Morrison
25 January 2016
Gen Morrison said he was "almost at a loss for words" after receiving the award ю Former army chief and equality advocate David Morrison has been chosen as 2016's Australian of the Year. Lieutenant General Morrison famously told troops in 2013 they could "get out" if they couldn't treat women as equals after a scandal over sexually explicit emails sent by members of the military.
The comments were made in a video that has been viewed 1.6 million times.

Pacific Ocean rowers: Coxless Crew reach Australia
25 Jan 2016
The Coxless Crew spent Christmas Day on the Pacific Ocean. A team of female rowers have arrived in Australia nine months after setting off from San Francisco to cross the Pacific Ocean. The Coxless Crew rowed out under the Golden Gate Bridge in April last year. After 257 days at sea, with supply stops in Hawaii and Samoa, their 29ft boat, Doris, crossed the finish line at Cairns just before 01:00 GMT. The crew - made up of three permanent members and three others each rowing a leg - have claimed two records. Laura Penhaul, Natalia Cohen and Emma Mitchell, along with final leg rower Meg Dyos, hugged each other as they entered the Marlin Marina in the Queensland city. Sharing beers with family and friends who had gathered to welcome them, the adventurers described their achievement as "an overwhelming experience".
The Coxless Crew
Laura Penhaul, Natalia Cohen, Emma Mitchell and Lizanne van VuurenImage copyright PA Image caption The three permanent crew members last saw dry land in Samoa Laura Penhaul, 32, originally from Cornwall but now living and working in London, is the founder and leader of the Coxless Crew. The lead physiotherapist for British Paralympics Athletics, she is a keen marathon runner, cyclist and triathlete
Natalia Cohen, 40, is based in London. An adventure tour leader and manager, she has lived and worked in more than 50 countries in the last 15 years and has completed the Inca Trail in Peru 10 times
Emma Mitchell, 30, is from Marlow in Buckinghamshire. An expedition manager, she has rowed for England and is an ex-Cambridge Blue who competed in the Boat Race
Isabel Burnham, 31, is a solicitor from Saffron Walden near Cambridge who joined the Coxless Crew for the first leg, from San Francisco to Hawaii. She also rowed for Cambridge University
Lizanne van Vuuren, 27, a South African osteopath who grew up in Newbury, was part of the crew for the second leg, from Hawaii to Samoa.
Meg Dyos, 25, an English graduate who works as an estate agent in London, joined the Coxless Crew for the third leg, from Samoa to Cairns. Despite taking three months longer than originally planned, the 9,200-mile (14,800km) expedition has set two world records; the women becoming the first all-female team and the first team of four to row the Pacific. They rowed continuously as pairs in two-hour shifts, sleeping 90 minutes at a time. Each consumed 5,000 calories a day, devouring freeze-dried meals with a side of protein bars, chocolate, fruit or nuts, washed down with desalinated sea water. But they took a Christmas cake on board as a treat on 25 December, a day which they unsurprisingly spent at sea. Along their epic journey they had to contend with a battering from a tropical storm, waves the height of houses and the approach of a humpback whale that surfaced just yards away from their boat. Drenched by rain and seawater they endured painful sores, but also faced temperatures so hot they cooked a pancake on the deck just from the sun's rays. The expedition, which is raising money for the charities Walking With The Wounded and Breast Cancer Care, has been filmed for a documentary called Losing Sight Of Shore.

'Neo-masculinist' Roosh V has not applied for visa, Australia says
2 February 2016
...The Return of Kings group pushes an anti-women agenda - it believes men are innately superior to Women and oppressed by Feminism. Mr Valizadeh wrote a widely criticised article last year calling for the legalisation of rape on public property as a way to "defeat rape culture". He has since said the post was satirical. His group is planning to hold meetings in 43 countries, but generated a particularly strong reaction in Australia after a university student started an online petition denouncing the group. Mr Valizadeh's proposed trip to Australia sparked widespread outrage, including demands that he be prevented from entering the country. But Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said in a statement that no-one with his name had applied for a visa.
"People who advocate violence against women are not welcome in Australia," Mr Dutton said. Australia has previously refused to issue a visa to pick-up artist Julien Blanc and rapper Tyler the Creator because of views they have expressed about women.

Анна Нетребко в мини: хоть сейчас на подиум!  26.07.2016

Anna Netrebko - Opera Singer
44-летняя звезда всегда отличалась крепким телосложением, что и не удивительно — оперные примы редко бывают худощавыми. Но известно, что правильно подобранная одежда может творить чудеса, что и доказала на своем примере Анна Нетребко. Певица, которая обычно предпочитает просторные брючные костюмы, сменила образ и появилась в мини, показав идеальные ноги. Перемены разительны: такое впечатление, что Анна похудела сразу на несколько размеров. Впрочем, еще совсем недавно Анна говорила, что вполне довольна своей фигурой и не намерена садиться на какие-то специальные диеты. Более того, она, как истинная казачка отменно готовит и балует домашних — мужа Юсифа Эйвазова и сына Тьяго — вкусной едой. Изменения в фигуре оперной певицы, возможно, связаны с напряженным гастрольным графиком. Только за этот год Нетребко побывала почти на всех континентах, при этом совмещая выступления на лучших сценах мира с экскурсиями в самые экзотические места на нашей планете. В любом случае, какой бы ни была причина перемен, происходящих с Анной, выглядит она по-настоящему сногсшибательно.

Reza Gul: The Afghan Woman whose husband cut off her nose and ears

28 Jan 2016
Reza Gul is waiting to be transferred for further treatment in Turkey. Reza Gul is waiting to be transferred for further treatment in Turkey. A young Afghan woman whose husband is being sought by police for cutting her nose off has told the BBC of the years of abuse she suffered. Hussamuddin Toyghon of the BBC Uzbek-Afghan service reports from Maimana. The story caused an outcry after pictures of Reza Gul's face were shared on social media, with many deploring Afghanistan's shocking record of domestic violence. Reza Gul was attacked in the remote Ghormach district of north-western Faryab province last week. Cradling her baby daughter, Reza Gul spoke to the BBC from her hospital bed in Maimana, the provincial capital. She is 20 now, and during nearly six years of marriage she says she suffered continuous cruelty and abuse. "They would beat me. They wouldn't feed me or give me flour to bake bread," she recalls. "They would beat me on the head, shackle my feet and lock me up in the stable with a donkey." Reza Gul was just 15 when she married Mohammad Khan, a man she had never met and who had been in Iran prior to the wedding. Reza Gul fled the abuse, but returned after assurances she would be treated well. Reza Gul says she has been mistreated throughout her marriage. Reza Gul says she has been mistreated throughout her marriage. It was an arranged marriage like most in Afghanistan, agreed by the girl's father with Mohammad Khan's family. She says she did not want to marry him, "but I had no choice. He destroyed my youth, I want help," she told the BBC. From her account, she had little help during the six years that followed. "I was married but he would go to Iran," she says. "On every visit he would spend 20 days at home before going back."
During those visits she was often beaten and locked up. She says she doesn't understand why. "I did nothing wrong, I've never stolen anything. I have never committed adultery. They were just punishing me without a reason. He was a pig."
She says she never dared to argue and she had no help from anyone in her husband's family. Reza Gul says that local elders and even the Taliban intervened on several occasions, extracting promises from her husband that the abuse would end. Instead, the violence became worse. Reza Gul with her baby, mother and father in Maimana hospital. Anti-Taliban Afghan fighters on patrol in Faryab, one of the least secure Afghan provinces rife with crime and insurgent activity. With her father and mother at her bedside, she recounted what happened on the day she was finally brought to the relative safety of the hospital.
"There were eight people. They took me by car to the well. Two men were following us and six others were ahead," she recalls. She said her husband "took a gun and a knife out of his pocket and fired four times in the air". "He also had tablets and other medicine in his pocket. I said, 'What are you doing with the knife?'. He said, 'Should I kill you or cut off your nose?' I said, 'Kill me but please don't cut off my nose.' But he cut off my nose and threw it in the ditch."
Reza Gul recounts how her face started bleeding heavily as she was pushed back into the car. She says her brother-in-law took her to a doctor; her husband disappeared. The local authorities say they are looking for Mohammad Khan, with unconfirmed reports suggesting he has fled to a Taliban-controlled area. The BBC and other media have been unable to contact Mohammad Khan, whose whereabouts remain unclear. Neither he nor his relatives have made any public statements or spoken to reporters. His family live in a highly insecure part of Ghormach district where phones do not work and it's not safe to send journalists. Shocking
Doctors hope to be able to send Reza Gul to Turkey for reconstructive surgery. The facilities to carry out such an operation do not exist in Afghanistan, where convictions for domestic abuse are rare. As elsewhere in the region, the country has a reputation for violence against women and acid attacks and sexual assaults are widespread. In November a young woman was stoned to death in Ghor province after she was accused of adultery. And last March a young Kabul woman, Farkhunda, was beaten and burnt to death by a mob over false allegations she had burnt a Koran. The cutting off of a woman's nose is shocking even by Afghan standards, although there have been previous examples. In September 2014 a man cut off part of his wife's nose with a kitchen knife in central Daykundi Province, according to police. It's not clear whether he was ever caught. And in 2010 the case of Aisha featured on the front cover of Time magazine, after the 18-year-old was mutilated by her husband who cut off her nose and ears as punishment for running away.

Arab social media fury at Cologne sex attacks
7 January 2016
A man hold a placard reading "Sorry for what happened with the woman in Cologne in New Year"s Eve, 90 women" outside the main station in Cologne, Germany, 06 January 2016. Protesters have condemned the attacks. People on Arabic-language social media have voiced dismay and anger at the sexual violence against women in Cologne and other German cities on New Year's Eve. Indications that many of the attackers were North African or Arab in appearance prompt soul-searching, with some alluding to the perception that sexual violence against women is widespread in North Africa and the Middle East. Many express concern about the possible impact the incidents could have on Germany's perception of migrants and refugees from the regions. Twitter user @Osama_Saber voices the fear that the incidents will bring "shame of historic proportions" on all Arabs living in Germany. I have never felt more respected than I feel here," Facebook user Israa Ragab - an Egyptian living in Germany - writes.
"Every time I watch the TV and hear them saying the suspects could be from North Africa or Arabs I feel so ashamed and disgusted."
Twitter user @LLLLoL00 is blunter: "Every time we try to improve the image of Arabs, a bunch of scumbags just destroys everything!"
Commenting on the arrest of an Iraqi and a Palestinian in relation to sexual harassment allegations on New Year's Even in Berlin, Deutsche Welle Arabic journalist Nahla Elhenawy voices the opinion that such incidents are symptomatic of wider problems relating the treatment of women in the Middle East and some Muslim-majority countries. "The ugliness of our regions is reaching Germany," she tweets.
copyright AP Image caption The attacks have caused uproar in Cologne itself
Many social media users fret that the sexual harassment incidents could lead to a backlash in Germany and elsewhere against liberal policies towards refugees from Syria, such as those espoused by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"Will Europe regret receiving people who suffer from religious and political repression?" ‏@Farcry99 tweets. Another user suggests this could be the beginning of Germany "closing its doors for refugees".

Spared by the hitmen with principles
5 Feb 2016
One year ago a group of gunmen in Burundi was hired to kill a woman visiting from Australia. But the hit did not go as planned, leaving her with a chance to turn the tables on the man who wanted her dead.
"I felt like somebody who had risen again," says Noela Rukundo. She was supposed to be dead. The hired killers had been paid. They had even explained how they would dispose of the body. But now, waiting outside her house for the last of the mourners to leave, she was ready to face down the man who had put out a contract for her murder.
"When I get out of the car (in Melbourne), he (her husband) saw me straight away. He put his hands on his head and said, 'Is it my eyes? Is it a ghost?'"
"Surprise! I'm still alive!" she replied.
Noela's ordeal began five days earlier, and 7,500 miles away in her native Burundi. She had returned to Africa from her home in Melbourne, Australia, to attend her stepmother's funeral.
"I had lost the last person who I call 'mother'," she says. "It was very painful. I was so stressed."
By early evening Noela had retreated to her hotel room. As she lay dozing in the stifling city heat of Bujumbura, her phone rang. It was a call from Australia - from Balenga Kalala, her husband and father to her three youngest children.
"He says he'd been trying to get me for the whole day," Noela says. "I said I was going to bed. He told me, 'To bed? Why are you sleeping so early?'
"I say, 'I'm not feeling happy'. And he asks me, 'How's the weather? Is it very, very hot?' He told me to go outside for fresh air."
Noela took his advice. "I didn't think anything. I just thought that he cared about me, that he was worried about me." But moments after stepping outside the hotel compound, Noela found herself in danger. "I opened the gate and I saw a man coming towards me. Then he pointed the gun on me. He just told me, 'Don't scream. If you start screaming, I will shoot you. They're going to catch me, but you? You will already be dead. So, I did exactly what he told me."
The gunman motioned Noela towards a waiting car.
I was sitting between two men. One had a small gun, one had a long gun. And the men say to the driver, 'Pass us a scarf.' Then they cover my face. "After that, I didn't say anything. They just said to the driver, 'Let's go.'
"I was taken somewhere, 30 to 40 minutes, then I hear the car stop. Noela was pushed inside a building and tied to a chair. One of the kidnappers told his friend, 'Go call the boss.' I can hear doors open but I didn't know if their boss was in a room or if he came from outside. They ask me, 'What did you do to this man? Why has this man asked us to kill you?' And then I tell them, 'Which man? Because I don't have any problem with anybody.' They say, 'Your husband!' I say, 'My husband can't kill me, you are lying!' And then they slap me. After that the boss says, 'You are very stupid, you are fool. Let me call who has paid us to kill you.'The gang's leader made the call. We already have her," he triumphantly told his paymaster. The phone was put on loudspeaker for Noela to hear the reply. Her husband's voice said: "Kill her." Just hours earlier, the same voice had consoled her over the death of her stepmother and urged her to take fresh air outside the hotel. Now her husband Balenga Kalala had condemned her to death. "I heard his voice. I heard him. I felt like my head was going to blow up. Then they described for him where they were going to chuck the body." At that, Noela says she passed out.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Balenga Kalala had arrived in Australia in 2004 as a refugee, after fleeing a rebel army that had rampaged through his village, killing his wife and young son. Settling in Melbourne, he soon found steady employment, first in a seafood processing factory and then in a warehouse as a forklift operator.
"He could already speak English," recalls Noela, who also arrived in Australia in 2004. "My social worker was his social worker, and they used him to translate Swahili."
The two fell in love. They set up home in the Kings Park suburb of the city. Noela had five children from a previous relationship and went on to have three more with Kalala.
"I knew he was a violent man," admits Noela. "But I didn't believe he can kill me. I loved this man with all my heart! I give him, beautiful and handsome, two boys and one girl. So I don't know why he choose to kill me."
Noela Rukundo spoke to Outlook on the BBC World Service. As the gang's leader ended the call to Kalala, Noela was coming round.
"I said to myself, I was already dead. Nothing I can do can save me. But he looks at me and then he says, 'We're not going to kill you. We don't kill women and children.' He told me I'd been stupid because my husband paid them the deposit in November.
And when I went to Africa it was January. He asked me, 'How stupid can you be, from November, you can't see that something is wrong?'"
He might have been a hit-man with principles, but the gang's leader still took the opportunity to extort more money from Kalala. He called him back and informed him that the fee for the murder had increased. He wanted a further 3,400 Australian dollars (£1,700) to finish the job. Back at the hotel, Noela's brother was getting worried about her disappearance. He called Kalala in Australia to ask for $545 to pay the police to open an investigation - Kalala feigned concern and duly wired the money. After two days in captivity, Noela was freed.
"'We give you 80 hours to leave this country,'" Noela says the gang told her. "'Your husband is serious. Maybe we can spare your life, but other people, they're not going to do the same thing. If God helps you, you'll get to Australia.'"
Before leaving Noela by the side of a road, the gang handed her the evidence they hoped would incriminate Kalala - a memory card containing recorded phone conversations of him discussing the murder and receipts for the Western Union money transfers.
"We just want you to go back, to tell other stupid women like you what happened," the gang told Noela as they parted. "You must learn something: you people get a chance to go overseas for a better life. But the money you are earning, the money the government gives to you, you use it for killing each other!"
Noela immediately began planning her return to Australia. She called the pastor of her church in Melbourne, Dassano Harruno Nantogmah, and requested his help. "'It was in the middle of the night. I said, 'It's me, I'm still alive, don't tell anybody.'
He says, 'Noela, I don't believe it. Balenga can't kill someone!' And I said, 'Pastor, believe me!'"
Three days later, on the evening of 22 February 2015, Noela was back in Melbourne. By now, Kalala had informed the community, that his wife had died in a tragic accident. He had spent the day hosting a steady stream of well-wishers, many of whom donated money.
"It was around 7.30pm," Noela says. "He was in front of the house. People had been inside mourning with him and he was escorting a group of them into a car." It was as they drove away that Noela sprang her surprise. "I was stood just looking at him. He was scared, he didn't believe it. Then he starts walking towards me, slowly, like he was walking on broken glass. He kept talking to himself and when he reached me, he touched me on the shoulder. He jumped. He did it again. He jumped. Then he said, 'Noela, is it you?'… Then he starts screaming, 'I'm sorry for everything.'"
Noela called the police, who ordered Kalala off the premises and later obtained a court order against him. Days later, the police instructed Noela to call Kalala. Kalala made a full confession to his wife, captured on tape, begging for her forgiveness and revealing why he had ordered the murder. He say he wanted to kill me because he was jealous," says Noela. "He think that I wanted to leave him for another man." She rejects the accusation.
In a police interview, Kalala denied any involvement in the plot. "The pretence," wrote the judge at his trial in December, "lasted for hours." But when confronted with the recording of his telephone conversation with Noela and the evidence she brought back from Burundi he started to cry. Kalala was still unable to offer any explanation for his actions, suggesting only that "sometimes [the] devil can come into someone to do something but after they do it, they start thinking, 'Why I did that thing?'"
On 11 December last year, in court in Melbourne, after pleading guilty to incitement to murder, Kalala was sentenced to nine years in prison.
"His voice always comes in the night - 'Kill her, kill her,'" says Noela of the nightmares that now plague her. "Every night, I see what was happening in those two days with the kidnappers."
Ostracised by many in Melbourne's African community, some of whom blame her for Kalala's conviction, Noela sees a difficult future for her and her eight children.
"But I will stand up like a strong woman," she says. "My situation, my past life? That is gone. I'm starting a new life now."

B Мосуле террористы ИГ казнили 837 женщин, Iraq

Killing Of 837 Women, Iraq, 2014
26 декабря 2015
Боевики террористической организации «Исламское государство» с момента захвата в июне 2014 года иракского города Мосул казнили 837 женщин. Об этом сообщает информационное агентство DPA. Зануна аль-Сабави, генерал полиции иракской провинции Найнава, рассказал, что большинство женщин были расстреляны после вынесения приговоров шариатским судом, учрежденным ИГ. Кроме того, по его данным, террористы под разными предлогами приговаривали к казни женщин-кандидатов в советы депутатов провинции, госслужащих, а также тех, кто работал адвокатами, нотариусами и парикмахерами. По информации ряда СМИ, эти данные были предоставлены центром шариатской судебной медицины в Мосуле, куда поступают тела убитых. 25 декабря премьер-министр Ирака Хайдер аль-Абади пообещал освободить Мосул от боевиков после того, как будет завершена операция в городе Эр-Рамади. Боевики ИГ заняли второй по величине город Ирака 10 июня 2014 года. Однако Мосул далеко не единственное место, где террористы массово расправлялись с женщинами. Ранее EADaily сообщало о том, что на севере Ирака в окрестностях города Синджар были обнаружены массовые захоронения женщин, которых убили боевики ИГ. «Исламское государство» — запрещенная в России террористическая организация, захватившая в 2014 году часть территории Сирии и Ирака и провозгласившая там халифат.

Killing Of Women, India

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Soon Qingling: ‘The mother of modern China’
23 December 2015
She married Sun Yatsen, became a Communist and died as China’s honorary chairperson. Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore takes a look at the life of Soon Qingling. “Once upon a time in distant China, there were three sisters,” opens the 1997 historical drama The Soong Sisters. “One loved money, one loved power and one loved her country.” Directed by Hong Kong film-maker Mabel Cheung, The Soong Sisters tracks the lives of three real-life siblings, powerful women who lived through – and largely influenced – major upheavals in China in the last century. Soong Ailing – the lover of money – married Kung Hsiang-hsi, a director of the Bank of China. Soong Meiling – the lover of power – married Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the Kuomintang or Nationalist Party. And Soong Qingling – the lover of the Chinese nation – married the revolutionary Sun Yat-sen, founding father of the Republic of China. To some Soong was China’s “conscience”… To others, she was a politically naive traitor. Together Ailing, Meiling, and Qingling represent China’s major ideological forces: capitalism, nationalism and communism, respectively. But of the three sisters, it is Soong Qingling (depicted in the movie by the iconic actress Maggie Cheung) who captured the public’s imagination, becoming in the process a political It Girl, national treasure and historical heroine. Soong Qingling married Sun Yatsen in 1915, four years after he’d led the Chinese Revolution that ended the Manchu dynasty. The “mother of modern China”, as she is known, wed Sun Yat-sen in 1915, the man heralded with overthrowing the feudalistic, old-fashioned and elitist Manchu dynasty just four years earlier. As a widow, following her husband’s death from liver disease a decade later in 1925, Madame Sun Yat-sen became an important champion for Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party. To some Soong was China’s ‘conscience’, having broken ties with the Nationalist Party that her husband had founded, proclaiming it had strayed from his original ideals and intentions. To others, she was a politically naive traitor and ‘bird in a lacquered cage’, who was used and exploited by the Communists as a crucial link to the past and a route to legitimacy. One thing is certain. As the Communist Party apologist Israel Epstein – a great friend of Soong’s – once stated: “Soong Qingling personifies modern China… [She] personally participated in all stages of the Chinese revolution.” In his 1993 biography Woman in World History: Soong Qingling, Epstein describes her as possessing a rare “internationalist and bicultural thinking” combined with patriotism. The latter was her “strong and eternal root… not only reflected in her political stance and actions but also suffused her entire mind and body.”
Chinese dream
The daughter of a Bible salesman and missionary, Soong was born in 1893 in Shanghai. Charlie Soong, her father, had spent years in the United States being trained as a missionary before returning to spread Christianity. In 1890 he started a Shanghai publishing house, printing cheap bibles in colloquial Chinese – and became rich. His business empire soon expanded to include food and textiles. Above all, Soong was a champion of women. As the second eldest of six children, Soong was educated, like her siblings, in both China and the US. Fluent in English, she attended Wesleyan College in Georgia and took up the Christian name Rosamond. When the Republic of China was proclaimed, ending more than 2,000 years of imperial rule, Soong was still at school in the States. As her friends watched, she took down the emperor’s banner from the walls of her room; in its place went Sun Yatsen’s flag of the Republic. Soong Qingling’s Christian family initially disapproved of her marriage to Sun Yatsen, since he already had a wife. Education abroad had its impact: above all, Soong was a champion of women. Finding arranged marriages abhorrent (they would later be banned by Mao in the 1950s) she was adamant that she must marry a man of her own choice. Moving back to Asia, she became Sun Yatsen’s secretary. When she announced she would also become his wife her parents were appalled. Not only was Sun nearly three decades her senior, he already had a wife and three children. By taking up the mantle of “second wife” Soong's match would be at odds with the family’s Christian values. Showing the determination, stubbornness and will that would define her long life, Soong ignored their concerns and married Sun in 1915. Although younger, richer, and at times offended by his lack of cleanliness, Soong became a much-loved companion and confidant to Sun, a revolutionary born into a peasant family. In an era when many respectable Chinese women were still kept behind shuttered doors, she also became a highly visible political figure. In her biography Madame Sun Yatsen, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday state that Soong became the earliest example in the world of a woman behaving like a “First Lady”. In the early 1920, Soong’s initiatives included conducting studies of the squalid conditions of female factory workers, the founding of women’s clubs and heading up the Women’s Institute of Political Training. As well as providing a refuge for women fleeing arranged marriages, the Institute promoted the idea that women, like men, were equal benefactors of China’s political future and must be educated as such. Chinese women, she wrote in later life, must be unshackled from the three traditional obediences: to their fathers, their husbands, and their sons. Soong, likewise, shifted between European and Chinese styles, showcasing a new, forward-thinking China . But while Soong campaigned strongly in women’s rights, she also believed that they must come under a transformation of society as a whole, stating in 1942: “From the very start, our women fought not under the banner of a Western feminism but as part and parcel of the democratic whole.” One reflection of social reform was dress. In feudal China men wore their heads shaved, with a long plait, or queue, draped down their backs, as a physical incarnation of their humility. Sun Yatsen, however, popularised a modern new suit, a mixture of traditional Chinese and Western dress, known as the Sun-Yatsen – and later the Mao -– suit. Soong, likewise, shifted between European and Chinese styles, showcasing a new, forward-thinking China, one that could hold its head up high to the West.
A strange sisterhood
With power, however, came costs. Forced to flee a military coup in 1922, Soong miscarried her baby with Sun (later in life she adopted two daughters). The Soong family also suffered a vast split: during the Chinese Civil War, the Communist-sympathising Qingling became estranged from her sister Meiling, wife of the enemy Chiang Kai-Shek. In 1927 – the same year of Meiling’s wedding – Chiang Kai-Shek led a brutal massacre of Communists across the country. Although Chiang had once been a close ally to Sun Yatsen, and had taken over as the leader of the Republic after his passing, Soong was horrified. She condemned the attacks, turned her back on the Nationalists, and led an incessant political campaign against her brother-in-law. Soong’s sister Meiling – known for her beauty and sex appeal – had different ideas about how China should be shaped. Meiling, however, successfully won over the American public, becoming only the second woman to address a joint session of Congress. In 1934 Meiling, alongside her husband, launched the New Life Movement, which sought to stop the spread of communism by harking back to traditional Chinese values. According to the Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers, Meiling adopted “a conventional attitude toward women’s emancipation as a moral crusade confined to emphasising traditional virtues of modesty, chastity, and domesticity”. Qingling, by contrast, saw “precisely these traditional patriarchal attitudes as being at the root of the continuing subjection of Chinese women, even into the communist era.”  She involved herself in the Chinese war effort against the Japanese and hosted a radio show called The Voice of China. Meiling, however, successfully won over the American public, becoming only the second woman to address a joint session of Congress. There she asked for support in the Sino-Japanese war, leading to her inclusion in a list of the 10 most admired women in the US. It was during World War Two that the sisters were briefly reunited – running field hospitals and literary campaigns together – as the Nationalists and Communists dropped their differences to fight against a common enemy, the Japanese. Following Mao Zedong’s victory in 1949, however, Meiling fled with her husband to Taiwan where he set up a new government. The sisters were estranged for good. The three Soong sisters, though divided by politics, were united during World War Two. In 1938, following the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, Soong founded the China Defense League, later renamed the Chinese Welfare Institute, with the aim of funding children’s well-being and health, particularly in Communist controlled areas. When the Communists emerged triumphant in 1949, establishing the People’s Republic of China, Soong was rewarded for her loyalty with the role of vice chair in the newly formed nation. Just weeks before she died Qingling was granted the title of Honorary Chairman of the People’s Republic of China. Other accolades followed. In 1951 Soong was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize. And in 1959, in a largely symbolic role, she became one of just two deputy chairmen of the Chinese Communist Party, under Mao Zedong. Just as Meiling courted the States from Taiwan, Soong Qingling also sought to shape the West’s perception of China. In 1952 she founded the magazine China Reconstructions (now China Today), broadcasting news of her homeland in English, as well as other languages. A collection of her writings was published in the 1950s under the apt title, Struggle for New China.
When Soong died in 1981 aged 90, the Chinese government lauded her as “a great patriotic, democratic, internationalist and Communist fighter and outstanding state leader of China.” Just weeks before she was granted the title of Honorary Chairman of the PRC and, for the first time, became a member of the Communist Party. In death, as in life, Meiling took a different path. While Qingling had suffered and been publicly criticised during the brutal 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, Madame Chiang Kai-shek was widowed in 1975. She moved to New York where she lived in relative seclusion in a plush Manhattan apartment, before passing away aged 105 in 2003. At news of her death George W Bush commended her “intelligence” and “strength of character”, calling her a close friend of the US. For Qingling, it was China, not the States, who sung praises. After her death three days of national mourning were announced in China, a state funeral was staged and flags were lowered at Chinese embassies across the world. As Frommers aptly writes in a guide to one of Soong’s former residences in Beijing, this is a woman who “is as close as you'll get to a modern Chinese Communist saint.”

100 Women: China's feminists undeterred by detentions

2 December 2015
Women activist Li Tingting, 25, poses with letters and a paper which read "Construction regulations should be reasonable, bathroom proportion 2:1 (women/men)" in this undated file handout picture taken in an unknown location in China, provided by a women"s rights group on 8 April 2015Image copyright Reuters Image caption Li Tingting in an undated photo, where she is seen holding a sign calling for more women's bathrooms in buildings. The detentions came right before International Women's Day. Five women who all worked as activists for various feminist causes and had organised public events to raise awareness of a host of issues, from eradicating domestic violence to the need for more women's toilets in China. Few predicted the women would ever become targets of the authorities, since their causes seemed relatively unobjectionable. That is, until last March, when the women were planning a multi-city protest to call for an end to sexual harassment on public transport. The size of their networks and their determination to speak out in public appeared to unnerve the authorities. One by one, they were detained by police. The protests the women had planned were supposed to be peaceful; the treatment they endured in Chinese detention centres was not.
The detained activists Zheng Churan, Li Tingting, Wang Man, Wu Rongrong, and Wei Tingting
For more than a month, the women were subject to continual interrogations by police. All were forced to sleep on floors, and some were denied vital medication. One woman, Wu Rongrong, was repeatedly told by police that "we'll tie you up, throw you in a cell with men, and let them gang rape you". They also threatened the future of Wu's four-year-old son. Women activist Wu Rongrong, 30, poses with a trophy in this undated handout picture taken in an unknown location in China, provided by a women's rights group on 8 April 2015. Another woman, Li Tingting, was interrogated 49 times in 27 days. A global campaign to push for their release ensued, and there was an outpouring of relief on Twitter when the #FreetheFive group were released. Months later, the women remain under police surveillance. The group are pushing for their case to be withdrawn. Li Tingting told the BBC she believes the police want a swift conclusion too. "They probably want to retract the case now, because there's nothing to investigate," she explains. "They are also afraid of us demanding compensation. They need to close this case and return my passport to me." Where does the wider women's movement stand after the Feminist Five detentions?
In some ways, this is a very dark time for anyone who wants to shape Chinese government policy, to change the way things work from outside of the Communist Party's machinations. "In the next few years, I don't think it's looking good," Li Tingting says. "The space for us to do things has narrowed greatly in the past few years." Li Tingting in the middle and two others wear paint-spattered wedding dressesImage copyright CFP Image caption Li Tingting, pictured in the middle, had previously protested against domestic violence . 'Women's clubs'
Chinese civil society has suffered under the rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Thousands of activists, dissidents and defence lawyers have been targeted by the authorities. Many non-governmental organisations have been forced to shut their doors, or dramatically scale back their activities. But some groups appear unscathed. Yolanda Wang operates a women's circle that helps more than 50,000 women share professional contacts and experiences online. "My male friends, they have 'man clubs' where they share their connections, work opportunities and experiences, and support each other," she reasons. "Why not have a professional women's circle for corporate women to share their experiences?" Yolanda appears to feel little connection with the Feminist Five, or the issues they raise. "Personally, I think I have the right to do whatever I want," she says. "I feel like for me and the women around me, the professional women and women in the corporate world, I never feel like I have difficulties or there are things I cannot do, or that I am limited. I have a lot of hope and confidence that women can stand up for themselves in China." Still, Yolanda has felt the need to make a stand on some matters. In 2014, she participated in the "Leftover Monologues", a stage play examining the pressures felt by unmarried women in their late 20s.  "If you're single, you shouldn't be ashamed," she explains. Women activist Zheng Churan, 25, poses for a photograph with papers which read Image copyright Reuters Image caption Zheng Churan, seen in this undated photo with a sign protesting the availability of jobs for female graduates. The detentions and subsequent release of the Feminist Five have also resulted in positive changes for the women's movement in China.
According to Beijing based writer and commentator Zhang Lijia, the movement has become more cohesive since the Spring. "Before there were different pockets of women activists. For example, those working on LGBT issues, or promoting gender equality.
There were some connections among the associations, of course, but that hadn't worked together. Now they have a common enemy in some sense," she explains. "One thing I know for certain is that those detentions may have deterred some people, but more likely that most people just become more careful and more aware of the dangers they are facing," Ms Zhang continues. Wang Man had previously protested in front of a court trying a domestic violence case. The sign reads: "Zero tolerance for domestic violence".  Some women participated in small scale protests during the Feminist Five's detentions, but they took precautions. They wore masks resembling the detained women's faces to hide their own identities. The Feminist Five have received a major boost in their profiles. Many follow the women's online blogs. Some of the women continue various campaigns to influence government policy. On 19 November, for example, Li Tingting joined activists from ten other cities to demand more women's toilets in China.
Ms Li appears to be cautiously optimistic for the future. "Before [the detentions], many outside China didn't know we had women's rights activists in China. It's a good thing in some ways," she says. "But we need spontaneous participation from women and a push for more women to wake up," she says. "Only when calls for change come from women can they be heard in our society."

Where women are killed by their own families - video
5 Dec 2015
By Candace Piette BBC News, Guatemala City
Rebecca Lane on her fight against machismo. Every year an estimated 66,000 women are murdered worldwide. One of the countries with the highest rate of violence against women is Guatemala - so why is it such a dangerous place to be female?
"We are being killed by our fathers, brothers, stepfathers… the very people who are supposed to care for us," says Rebecca Lane, a feminist rapper in Guatemala City. "Most of us have to live violence in silence so when someone hits us or screams at us we just close our eyes and let go. We have to join other women and talk about it so we know this is not OK, this is not normal." When Lane was 15, she got involved with an older man who was not only controlling, but also physically and sexually abusive. "He knew what he was doing. He isolated me from my family and friends. I know what it is to live with violence from an early age," she says. The relationship lasted for three years. Now she uses her music to campaign for women's rights. "Poetry saved my life. When I started to write it was vital to my recovery," she says. Her best-known song, Mujer Lunar - Lunar Woman - is a lyrical call for respect for women's bodies, lives and independence. She also runs hip-hop workshops for young mothers in Guatemala City to teach them their rights and how to deal with the kind of abuse she endured. Guatemalan indigenous women take part in a demonstration during commemorations of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, in Guatemala City on November 25, 2015. Guatemala has the third highest femicide rate in the world (after El Salvador and Jamaica) - between 2007 and 2012 there were 9.1 murders for every 100,000 women according to the National Guatemalan Police. And last year 846 women were killed in a population of little more than 15 million, says the State Prosecutors Office. It seems the reason for this lies in the country's brutal past. Lane's main inspiration as a feminist activist is the aunt after whom she is named. She never met her father's sister, but her story helps draw a direct line between the social instability of today and Guatemala's 36-year civil war. Lane's aunt disappeared in 1981 after she joined left-wing guerrillas fighting the military government. Around the time Lane's aunt died, news began to filter out of the rape, torture and murder of tens of thousands of women and girls - mostly from indigenous Mayan communities accused of supporting the insurgents. More than a decade later, a UN-sponsored report said this abuse had been generalised and systematic - it estimated that 25% or 50,000 of the victims of Guatemala's war were women.
A sign reading
Sexual violence was "at very high levels and used as a tool of war", says Helen Mack, of the Myrna Mack Foundation. "The stereotype was that women were used for sex and seen as an object, to serve families, and this continues today."
Mack's sister, Myrna - after whom the human rights organisation is named - died after she was stabbed in the street by a military death squad in 1990. Myrna had uncovered the extent of the physical and sexual violence the army had used against Mayan communities. During the conflict, an army of around 40,000 men and a civilian defence force of approximately one million were trained to commit acts of violence against women. When the war ended and these men returned home, they got no help in readjusting. Mack believes they redirected their aggression towards their wives, mothers and girlfriends - a culture of violence towards women and an expectation of impunity, which still persists today, developed.
"This week we received a phone call from a woman. Her husband had driven his car over her several times to make sure she was dead," says Mack.
"She survived and was brought to Guatemala City where she is being treated for her injuries. But her husband would not let go - he sent his father to her bedside to threaten her so that she didn't report the attack to the courts."
In Mack's experience, it is common for women to be threatened in this way or even killed by their attackers. Violence against women is still considered a domestic matter, she says, despite new laws against femicide and other forms of violence against women. In 2008 Guatemala became the first country to officially recognise femicide - the murder of a woman because of her gender - as a crime. Helen Mack's sister was stabbed in the street in 1990.
"The difference in Guatemala between the murder of a woman and of a man is that the woman is made to suffer before death, she is raped, mutilated and beaten," says the country's Attorney General Thelma Aldana.
Aldana is trying to change attitudes towards victims who are often blamed for the abuse they receive. "A few years ago the police and forensic investigators would arrive on a crime scene and say, "Look how she is dressed - that is why they killed her [or] she was coming out of a disco at 1am - she was asking for it."
In 2011, when she was president of the Supreme Court, Aldana helped establish a network of special tribunals and courts across Guatemala to deal with femicide cases.
"The justice system can do a lot to change culture," she says.
"We asked women to come forward and break the silence. Femicide and other forms of violence against women are now the crimes that are most reported in the country, with an average of 56,000 reports a year - this includes rape, sexual violence, physical and economic violence and murder." There are now femicide tribunals in 11 of the country's 22 departments or provinces where the judges and police officers receive gender crime training. Guatemalan women sitting on a wall. 
The State Prosecutor's office doesn't have the capacity to take on every case it receives, so has to choose the ones with the strongest evidence. This year only 3,366 were successfully heard in the femicide courts. In 2013, in the 3,560 cases that went to trial, only 1,460 sentences were handed out. Although the bodies of five murdered women were found in the area around Guatemala City in just one week in November, Helen Mack thinks there is progress.
"In the last 10 years we have been moving forward, at least women are now talking," she says, pointing to a generation of women judges and activists who have been pushing change. "In my sister's case, it only moved forward because the judges, who had the courage to deal with it were Women. Guatemala has shown that in different areas of the political spectrum, Women have had more courage and commitment, than the men to deal with the country's problems."

Tracey Curtis-Taylor finishes UK to Australia biplane flight  - video
9 January 2016
Tracey Curtis-Taylor wanted to retrace the journey made by Amy Johnson in 1930. A British adventurer has completed an epic 14,600-nautical mile flight from the UK to Australia in a vintage open cockpit bi-plane. Tracey Curtis-Taylor, 53, set off in her 1942 Boeing Stearman Spirit of Artemis aircraft from Farnborough, Hampshire, in October. She retraced pioneer Amy Johnson's 1930 flight, flying over 23 countries and making some 50 refuelling stops. After landing in Sydney she tweeted it was the end of a "huge adventure". Ms Curtis-Taylor - the self-styled "Bird in a Biplane" - also thanked "everyone who supported me". Some early reports suggested it was a solo flight - Ms Curtis-Taylor was the only pilot to fly the vintage bi-plane, but she had a support team of engineers travelling with her in a separate aircraft, as well as a camera crew, who would sometimes sit in with her.
'Greatest adventure'
She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that completing the challenge was a "huge relief" and she described her "euphoria to finally get to Sydney". "This is the greatest adventure in the world - this is flying through some of the great iconic sites: the Dead Sea, the Arabian desert," she said. "This is old fashioned stick and rudder flying, open cockpit, you get buffeted around - I've come through monsoons, thunder storms, turbulence, flying through the Australian outback in 45 degrees of heat.
"We fly seven or eight hours a day because we lost a bit of time in Indonesia trying to get through to Darwin - there were tropical cyclones… you are absolutely up against the elements." Speaking to the AFP news agency after her three-month journey, Ms Curtis-Taylor joked that she needed "a drink". Tracey Curtis-TaylorImage copyright Reuters Image caption Tracey Curtis-Taylor arrived in Sydney, completing her 14,600-nautical mile trip. She admitted she had "lost my rag several times dealing with people on the ground" during frequent refuelling stops, but added: "The flying has been sensational and that's why you do it. "To fly something like this, low level, halfway around the world seeing all the most iconic landscapes, geology, vegetation - it's just the best view in the world." Flying the open cockpit biplane had given her an "insight" into what Ms Johnson went through getting to Australia, she added. Her route had taken her across Europe and the Mediterranean to Jordan, over the Arabian desert, across the Gulf of Oman to Pakistan, India and across Asia. Map of the flight path. She flew over 23 countries and made some 50 refuelling stops . Ms Curtis-Taylor attempted to recreate the essence of Ms Johnson's era by flying with an open cockpit, with basic period instruments and a short range between landing points. On flying, Ms Curtis-Taylor said: "You never want to stop, it is absolutely addictive, it is so thrilling and exciting." She celebrated her arrival at Sydney's International Airport with a glass of Champagne Tracey Curtis-Taylor's biplane over Bagan, in Myanmar. She has flown across 23 countries, including Myanmar - formerly known as Burma Bi-plane flying past Uluru. Ms Curtis-Taylor piloted her bi-plane past Uluru, in central Australia.  Amy Johnson was the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in 1

Plus-size model attacks Asian community for 'body shaming' - video

Russian Model, Lavrova, 90kg
10 December 2015
Award-winning plus-size model Bishamber Das has attacked the culture of body shaming within the Asian community. Ms Das says criticising women and girls for their body shape can have a devastating impact on their lives. She hopes to use her success to encourage larger girls to have a healthier body image.

Israel minister Silvan Shalom resigns over harassment allegations

Silvan Shalom, Israel, 2015
20 December 2015
Mr Shalom has been a veteran figure in the right-wing Likud partyIsrael's Interior Minister Silvan Shalom has resigned after a series of sexual harassment allegations. Mr Shalom, who is also stepping down from his position as deputy prime minister, said he was doing so to spare his family any more suffering. The attorney-general has ordered a probe into claims made against Mr Shalom by several women. Mr Shalom has denied any wrongdoing. Israel has seen several similar high-profile cases in recent years. The police anti-fraud chief is under investigation for sexual misconduct and last month another MP in the governing coalition, Yinon Magal, resigned amid sexual harassment allegations. In 2011 the former President Moshe Katsav began a seven-year jail sentence for rape. Some media reports suggest that Mr Shalom's replacement in the Israeli parliament could be Amir Ohana, who would become the first openly gay MP from the right-wing Likud party.

Schoolgirls for Sale in Japan

Drawing the horror of a Syrian detention centre - video
(This article is not just about the tortures of human males, but also about Women, who are not afraid of death of their bodies, who can help, who can sacrify themselves for thier beloved men! LM)
21 Dec 2015
A Syrian artist who was accused of being an opposition activist and tortured in a detention centre has drawn pictures of his experiences - and described how he became numb to death, as dead bodies were piled up in the cell he shared with dozens of other naked prisoners. Some readers will find his account disturbing.
It is dark, cold and there is an overpowering smell of death and disease. Nearly 70 men are cramped in a room measuring 3m by 4m - one of hundreds of cells inside Syria's notorious detention centres. The men are skinny, naked and shivering with fear. They have no dignity. Day in day out, death and fear surrounds them till they accept it as normal.
"They used to bring the bodies from the basement and pile them in front of us," says the artist, whom I will call Sami.
"Every day there would be about eight new bodies. After a week I managed to get closer and count the number written on a body's forehead. It was 5,530 - and after a month and a half, the number on another body was 5,870.
"I got used to it. The first night I saw a dead body and smelled it, I felt so sick and sad I couldn't sleep. But later on we were eating while a dead body was next to us. I remember leaning on a dead body and thinking, 'When are they going to remove it so I can have more space?'
Sami was arrested twice in the years after the Syrian uprising in 2011. His crime was coming from a town, a religious group and a family that had revolted against President Bashar al-Assad.
"I had long curly hair when I was detained for first time. This modern look was a sign for the government that I belong to the co-ordination committees that organised protests. The security officer dragged me by my hair and told his boss, 'We've got one of the co-ordinators sir,'" Sami told me.
"I was picked up on my way to work, my head was covered and I was put in a car. I don't know where they took me but they put me in a hall while my hands were tied with wires. They started beating me up madly. Then I reached the detention centre. I was bleeding, bones broken, ears damaged so that I couldn't hear properly. The place was like Dante's inferno. You are constantly tortured and you hear the cries of people being tortured. I was kept in the basement maybe seven storeys down."
Illustration - three men standing and two more tied on the floor
Sami's second period of detention was even worse. He spent three months in a detention cell before being referred to terrorism court, set up under an anti-terrorism law issued in 2012. He was accused of inciting terrorism and threatening state security. He was imprisoned awaiting trial for nine months. Eventually, Sami was able to bribe his way out. He paid nearly $15,000 to get out of prison and later out of the country.
"Your family pays money to find a key person inside the detention cells who can help keep you alive," he says. "Money is paid so that prisoners are transferred from a detention cell to prison, where they are referred to the terrorism court."
His wife, Fidaa (not her real name) had the difficult job of finding the right person to bribe. It took $3,000 simply to find out where Sami was being held. Then she had to pay money to ensure that Sami would not continue to be tortured. One of the people who promised to help ensure Sami's release disappeared after a week, forcing her to look for another contact who might help. Sami recounts the horror of prison in Syria to Lina Sinjab. Then one day she got a call from a relative saying that Sami was in fact being held somewhere else.
"That moment I was terrified," she says. "I felt I had lost track of him and lost him forever. I spent the next 18 days in a terrified state until I managed to locate him."
Then more payments were required to get him transferred to a terrorism court. At that point she was taken to see him by her contacts.
"They called his name," she says. "Someone appeared in the room. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a different person - almost a third of his size. When he ran towards me I realised it was him.
"He came to see me through the viewing barrier, he wanted to kiss me and touch my hands. I didn't know what to do, cry or laugh (with joy)."
But it took nine months. During that time Fidaa made 38 dangerous journeys to Adra prison to see him.
"The road to the prison was horrifying," she says. "The whole area was brutally destroyed. You want to cry and you can't - it was dead body of a city. The car was driving so fast. We were told there were snipers. So you go to visit a prisoner, and you might end being killed."
Illustration - men kneeling and standing with another man, clothed, shouting at them.
Sami has lost 40 members of his family, all killed by the regime. He moved home twice inside Syria looking for a safe place to live with his wife and daughter. His own house and another belonging to his family were burned down by government forces in the Damascus suburb he comes from. For nearly two years before his second period in detention he went everywhere he needed to go in Damascus on foot, rather than using a car, to avoid being picked up at checkpoints.
The Syrian government says it is fighting terrorism, but Sami says none of the people he met in detention were terrorists.
"I didn't see any Islamists or jihadists or radicals in prison. I just saw ordinary Syrians," he says. "Needless to say, almost everyone in prison is Sunni."
Some prisoners were treated worse than others, he says.
"They look at you and decide what treatment you get. Men from the city with money are treated differently than those coming from poor and rural areas. The more money and connections you have, the less tortured you are."
Illustration - three figures one with head bowed, one screaming, and one chained and hung by the hands. Many have argued that this sort of treatment drives poor young Sunnis into the arms of Islamist radicals - though Sami says he personally never encountered any Islamists in Syria. The threat to him, he says, came exclusively from the Assad government, and it was the government that drove him eventually to leave the country. He and his wife and daughter are now in Europe, where Sami is recovering from his ordeal.
"I try to get over my fears by drawing or playing music," he says. "This is the only way I can survive."

Afghanistan's propaganda war takes a new twist
 4 June 2014
Critics say that pictures of an Afghan girl disfigured by the Taliban are being used to justify the occupation. But can we just abandon women like Bibi Aisha to their fate? Bibi Aisha, whose nose and ears were cut off by her Taliban-sympathising husband, pictured on the cover of Time magazine, 9 August 2010; and in California in October, with a prosthetic nose made by the Grossman Burn Centre. In 1985, at the height of the Soviet suppression of Afghanistan, National Geographic ran a cover photograph of a stunning Afghan girl. She had no name, but her haunted, mesmerising green eyes and her dramatic features framed by a crimson head shawl, seemed to capture a story of suffering, lost innocence and unrealised potential that went far deeper than the experience of just one girl. Twenty five years later, Time magazine ran a cover of another beautiful Afghan girl. She too had captivating eyes – brown, not green – lustrous black hair and a striking expression. However, what gave the photograph its narrative and political power was something that was missing from her attractive physiognomy: her nose. In its place was a yawning hole, a hideous second mouth in the very centre of her face. If those eyes in that now famous National Geographic cover spoke so eloquently of a forsaken nation's plight, then what did this grotesque wound say about the state of the country in 2010? For Time the answer appeared to be in the cover line, which referred to the debate about the continued presence of Nato troops: "What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan". There was no question mark. The girl without the nose was Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old from the southern Afghan province of Oruzgan. In 2009 she had fled her husband's house, complaining of beatings, maltreatment and a life, not uncommon among women in Afghanistan, that amounted to abject slavery. She had been given to her husband when she was 12, as payment to settle a dispute – a practice in Afghanistan that goes by the fitting name of "baad".
Having endured six years of torment and abuse, she escaped to the only place she could go, back to her family home. It was here that the Taliban arrived one night and demanded that the girl be handed over to face justice. She was taken away to a mountain clearing, where the local Taliban commander issued his verdict. She was then held down by her brother-in-law, while her husband first sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose. Aisha passed out from the pain but soon awoke choking on her blood, abandoned by her torturers and the ad-hoc judiciary of the Taliban. According to Time, the Taliban commander who awarded the punishment, later said that Aisha had to be made an example "lest other girls in the village try to do the same thing".
With the help of the American military, aid workers took her to a women's refuge in Kabul run by an Afghan-American organisation, Women for Afghan Women (WAW). There she remained, under the care of trained social workers, until August of this year, at around the time the Time cover appeared. She was then flown to California to undergo reconstructive surgery at the Grossman Burn Centre in California. However, following psychological assessment, the medical staff at the foundation decided that Aisha required more counselling and therapy before she could give her informed consent to the gruelling series of operations, that surgery would entail. So last month she was moved to New York, where she remains under the care and supervision of WAW.
"In Kabul she had been doing very well with us," says Esther Hyneman of WAW. "She had been with us for nine months. When she got to California, she regressed somewhat. We think it was because she really missed the friends she had made in the women's shelter in Kabul. It was also a big culture shock, and there was some problem getting her situated." WAW has indefinitely postponed the surgery. "She is now comfortable with her appearance," says Hyneman. "She doesn't hide herself any longer. And she has a prosthesis that they made at Grossman Burn. It's really a work of art. We encourage her to wear it, but she doesn't always put it on." WAW now thinks that her best chance of adapting to her current life in America is through education. "She has never been to school," says Hyneman, "and lacks basic common knowledge. For example, I bought her a map of the world and she had no idea where she was. She couldn't find Afghanistan or Pakistan either.
But the point I want to stress is that she's an amazingly intelligent person." She's being taught English and maths, and some other basics, but Hyneman says that she already displays a kind of instinctive gift for using a computer.
The one problem this presents is that she's inclined to search for sites with photographs of the Taliban, says Hyneman. "And when she sees them, she goes crazy, screaming and crying about what the Taliban did to her and what they do to women. So we try to discourage her from doing this."
In an obvious sense Aisha's story conforms to a traditional feminist reading of the struggle of women against patriarchal society. Consigned to the status of a domestic slave, she rebelled and felt the brutal force of male-dominated tribal society.
And there is no doubt that this is the context in which this vicious crime against a teenage girl took place. However, it's not the only context, and for many critics of the Time cover, it's not the most significant context. Because, of course,
Afghanistan plays host to tens of thousands of foreign troops, most of them American, and as such any efforts to remove the troops are seen by critics of the occupation as all part of a legitimate anti-imperialist cause. From this perspective, to put it crudely, national liberation always trumps female emancipation. Thus, for those who wished the Nato troops to remain, the photo of Aisha acted as a symbol of what they were fighting against, and for those who wanted to see them withdrawn, it was a piece of emotional propaganda or "war porn". Writing on the Guardian's website Priyamvada Gopal, who teaches English at Cambridge University, viewed the Time cover in terms of a "cynical ploy" to justify the occupation. "Misogynist violence is unacceptable," argued Gopal, "but we must also be concerned by the continued insistence that the complexities of war, occupation and reality itself can be reduced to bedtime stories."
Hyneman certainly agrees that it's wrong to focus on Aisha's case, "as if she's the only woman who's suffered this treatment. People need to realise that she represents those women who are already dead, or under threat of attack or face being stoned to death." For Gopal, though, these issues are simply handy levers for empty western moralising. She concluded that America has nothing to offer Afghanistan except more war and "bikini waxes". The notion, fashionable in radical circles, that Afghan women are better off without American protection or influence is one that Hyneman is particularly keen to contest. "Contrary to what most people in the developed world seem to believe, progress for women has occurred in Afghanistan, and against overwhelming odds."
There are indeed several achievements that cannot be easily disregarded. Under the Taliban girls were not allowed to go to school after the age of eight. Now there are more girls attending school in Afghanistan than at any time in its history.
Under the Taliban, women's voices were banned from radio (TV was completely forbidden) and now they take up a leading role in the broadcast media. Before, sports were off-limits to women, now there are female athletes competing in international events. Adultery was punishable by being stoned to death, and women were beaten on the street for anything short of total enshrouding. Now, while the informal dress code remains restrictive, 25% of parliamentary seats are allocated to women. The picture is far from perfect, and there are powerful forces within a weak and corrupt government that still wish to turn back the clock. There is currently an attempt under way to close down women's refuges because religious conservatives, without any evidence, have accused them of operating as brothels. WAW has five women's refuges throughout the country – and plans to open three more – as well as five family centres where men, who may be a threat to their wives, can receive counselling. And it is also active in seeking protection and compensation through the courts. Hyneman believes that if the Taliban regains control not only will all these benefits be lost, but there will also be a bloodbath against women.
"The fundamental problem," she says, "is that the Taliban's subjugation of women is a political strategy. Get 50% of the population on its knees and you can control the country. It's also their military strategy. They're the ones who are using women for military and political gain."
What, though, of Aisha? Where does she go now? Her mother died when she was very young, and according to Hyneman, she "does not have loving thoughts" about her father, who gave her up in the first place. She also has a younger sister, says Hyneman, who WAW believe may soon be turned over to the same family that mutilated Aisha as part of the outstanding blood-money debt. No amount of foreign troops can change the status of Afghan women. An enormous amount of work must be done to shift culturally and religiously sanctioned codes of behaviour, and then to raise life expectations. But it's hard to imagine that such efforts could be waged without the protection of the Nato troops. Even then, many Afghan women may still see security in tradition, no matter how unkind it has been to them. In 2002 National Geographic tracked down the girl with the green eyes. They found her living near the mountains of Tora Bora, which had been targeted by American bombing to flush out al-Qaida and Taliban fighters. Her name was Sharbat Gula. She had lived a life almost permanently disrupted by war and dreamed of her daughters one day attending school. But Gula also said that "life under the Taliban was better. At least there was peace and order".
The Taliban, who have minimal support in Afghanistan, understand the deep yearning for peace in the country after decades of fighting. That's why they are prepared to commit the most monstrous violence, particularly against women, to force the Afghans to submit to their order. Human Rights Watch has collected letters sent by the Taliban to intimidate and terrorise women. One reads: "We warn you to leave your job as a teacher as soon as possible otherwise we will cut the heads off your children and we shall set fire to your daughter." Another threatens such a harsh form of death "that no woman has so far been killed in that manner".
Anyone who is serious about challenging misogyny in Afghanistan is required, at the very minimum, to acknowledge this depressing reality. Equally, regardless of whether the troops stay or are withdrawn, it's important, if only for the sake of honest debate, to state clearly what's at stake. Aisha's experience is not the whole story, but it does symbolise a critical subplot that ought not be neglected. That much, at least, is as plain as the nose that is missing from her face.

Nelson Mandela's step-daughter: 'I was blinded by my abuser' - video
1 December 2015
The daughter of Nelson Mandela's widow Graca Machel has been speaking for the first time on television about her experience of being physically abused by her partner and how it left her blinded in one eye. Josina Machel was beaten in October in Mozambique's capital, Maputo, on her mother's 70th birthday. She has been telling her story to the BBC's Milton Nkosi in Johannesburg, as part of the BBC's 100 Women season.

Inside Islamic State: 'Underage girls are in demand by IS fighters'  - video
2 December 2015
Human rights groups have repeatedly warned that many women are facing unspeakable abuse inside Syria, in areas controlled by the so-called Islamic State. Foreign intervention in Syria has been increasingly on the agenda of many Western countries, to stop recurrent abuses and to avoid further attacks like the ones seen in Paris last month. On Wednesday the UK Parliament is set to hold a vote to decide on whether it approves a military intervention in Syria against IS. In a rare interview with the BBC Arabic's Najlaa Aboumerhi, a woman inside the city of Deir al-Zour - almost totally held by the extremist group - gives a glimpse of everyday life for women. She asked to be known as "Daughter of Eastern Syria", and her voice has been disguised to protect her security. Her story is part of the BBC's 100 Women season which finishes on December 2.

100 Women 2015: Life for women in Islamic State's Raqqa - video
25 November 2015
Nour is a woman from Raqqa, the so-called Islamic State's (IS) capital inside Syria. She managed to escape the city and is now a refugee in Europe, where she met up with the BBC. This story is based on her experiences and those of her two sisters, who are still inside the IS-held city.  Names and the timings of some events have been changed to avoid compromising the safety of Nour or her family.

100 Women 2015: The small band of pioneering women farmers in India - video
26 November 2015
Eighty percent of all economically active women in India work in agriculture but few own the land. Farms are traditionally passed down through the male line even though women can inherit equally by law. For the BBC's 100 women season, Rupa Jha and Neha Sharma travel across India to meet a pioneering community of women landowners. In Maharashtra, they meet a farm widow who had to run the household after her husband killed himself. Meanwhile in Rajasthan, they spend time with two sisters who enjoy riding a tractor and flouting local convention by remaining unmarried.

100 Women 2015: Desperate not to have children

Holly Brockwell with niece

Holly with mum
22 November 2015
Some women are desperate to have children - but some are desperate not to. Here two who want to stay child-free explain why. Holly Brockwell, 29, from London, has been trying to get sterilised, while in Tehran thirty-something Nina Nikoo (not her real name) faces family pressure to get pregnant. As a woman, there are four little words I can say that invite more condescension than almost any others: "I don't want children." "But why?" people ask, as if there's a simple answer to why you viscerally, instinctively reject something that's considered a fundamental part of humanhood. The fact is, there's nothing about creating another human that appeals to me. That's an emotional thing, and translating it into rational reasons takes something away from its strength. If I say I don't think I'd be a good parent, for instance, people respond, "Everyone feels that way at first." If I say I can't imagine ever having the time, energy or money, I'm told I'll "find a way to manage".
If I say I want to devote my life to my career, they say I'm "selfish". This year's season features two weeks of inspirational stories about the BBC's 100 Women and others who are defying stereotypes around the world. There's no acceptable reason to not want a baby, it seems. You'd think, from the responses people give, that everyone who procreates is ecstatically happy with their choice. I know categorically that this isn't true, because it happened to my mum. She's never hidden the fact that she didn't want kids in the first place, and only agreed to have them because my dad was desperate for a family. It's partly my own fear of capitulating that's driven me to try getting my tubes tied - to take the choice away in case I'm ever tempted to betray my beliefs for love. After being told four separate times that I was "too young to even consider it", despite the fact that there's no minimum age for sterilisation in the UK, I finally got referred this year. I was ecstatic - until
I tried to arrange the operation. Marie Stopes, who do the procedure for the National Health Service, told me matter-of-factly that there were no surgeons available, and I'd have to go back to my GP. In the meantime, I'd moved into the area of a different NHS Trust - which has meant starting the whole process again. Holly Brockwell with her niece. Holly with her niece. Holly skydiving. Holly wants to enjoy her life without the worry of getting pregnant. You may wonder why I don't choose another, less drastic, form of contraception but the pill has been making me sick for years and the only other option is the coil, which I'm not willing to have because I know two people who've experienced horrendous side-effects. I don't need reversible contraception. There's a 10-minute keyhole operation that can solve this problem for good, and I can't believe that at the age of almost 30 in 2015, I'm still having to fight to get it. We can choose to get pregnant at 16 but not to decline motherhood at 29. It seems our decisions are only taken seriously when they align with tradition. Well, I've never been one for tradition. I recently started a tech website written by women - I'm proud to say it's the only baby I'll ever have.
I think I'm very lucky to be a woman, but unlike many, I have never felt maternal. I have always thought it is a crime to bring a child you don't want into this world. I've worked very hard to set up my own business. I now employ six people and find nothing more satisfying than my job. Some people think I'm selfish, I don't know, perhaps I am. But regardless of what people think, I can't give up on a dream that after so many years has recently come true. My parents were shocked when they heard that I don't want to have a child. They still bring it up at every chance they find. And it's not just them. Other family members try to convince me that I'm making a mistake. I remember in the first years after my wedding, which was about 10 years ago, people were very judgmental. They even suggested that I or my husband were infertile and that we were hiding it. Cartoon showing childfree woman. Nina is fed up of people reminding her about her ticking biological clock.
They have now more or less given up but my parents are very persistent. My father says one day my biology will make me want to have a child. The other day, my mum was combing my hair and said it made her very sad that I will never get to experience what she has experienced. Like my dad, she thinks I will change my mind. Levels of childlessness tend to be highest in parts of Northern/Southern Europe and East Asia, and lowest in Eastern Europe and parts of Southern Europe and Central and Western Asia (UN). Childlessness appears to be related to educational attainment - in Switzerland about 21% of all women age 40 are childless, but this rises to about 40% for women who have completed tertiary education. I think the fact that many of my friends are childless, even though they have been married for many years, helps a lot. Having a child is a burden for educated women in Iran. It means you can't concentrate on your job, your freedom is limited and if your marriage doesn't work out, your chance of finding another husband is low. Don't get me wrong, I love children. I am patient and can easily get down to their level and spend hours playing with them - just as long as they aren't mine. When I see a child hanging off her mum's neck, I feel suffocated. I'm so happy that she's not mine. From day one, I told my husband that I didn't want a child, and he seems OK with it. I can sometimes see in the way he looks at children that he wouldn't mind being a father but he respects my decision. Convincing his parents was difficult too. I do think about it every day, though. In fact, I wish I could find motherly feelings in myself. I do wait for the day that I might change, however unlikely that seems.

Kenyan domestic workers 'abused in Saudi Arabia' - video
1 September 2015
The BBC has been speaking to a group of Kenyan domestic workers who say they have faced abuse - including physical assaults and rape - at the hands of their employers in Saudi Arabia. Activists posted a video of women begging for help on social media, which cannot be independently verified. It sparked an online campaign and the intervention of the government in Nairobi.

The Indian maid who had her arm chopped off in Saudi Arabia  - video
12 November 2015
The Indian maid who alleges she had her arm chopped off by her employer in Saudi Arabia has spoken to BBC Newsnight in an exclusive TV interview. Kasturi Munirathinam describes the moment of the attack - and calls for India to ban migration for work to Saudi Arabia. "No-one should go to that place. They are torturing us," she said. The case has raised wider concerns about the treatment of domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.

Brazilian women react after sexual comments are directed at a 12-year-old girl
9 November 2015
Juliana de Faria started the hashtag "primeiroassedio" after a 12-year-old girl on Masterchef became the object of crude sexual comments online. How old are young girls when they are "first harassed" by men? Women in Brazil are reflecting on their own childhood experiences - and sharing these stories on the internet in big numbers. It began with a sordid episode on Twitter as the nation watched the junior version of Masterchef, the globally popular TV cooking competition. One of the contestants on the programme was 12-year-old Valentina Shulz and during one episode, several men started tweeting suggestive messages about her online using the show's hashtag. "Does anyone know the Twitter of Valentina? She will date me if she wants it or not," wrote one user. "If she wants it, it's not paedophilia, IT'S LOVE," said another. These disturbing messages were noticed by Juliana de Faria, a journalist and part of the feminist group Think Olga. She started tweeting about the times she was harassed as a minor. Soon, others shared their stories too and Faria started a hashtag - "primeiroassedio" - which translates as "first harassment".
"Suddenly some readers and followers of Think Olga were writing me back with the first time they were harassed and they were very, very young, as young as five years old. So I started retweeting that," Faria told BBC Trending radio. The tag has been used more than 90,000 times, with women and girls sharing the stories of their first encounter with public sexual harassment. "At 11, I was heading to my dance class and a man touched my bottom," tweeted one. "13 years old. I was going to the supermarket. Heard from a gentleman that I already had 'beautiful boobs.' #firstharassment," said another. BBC Trending radio spoke to one woman who shared a longer account of an even more harrowing ordeal. Luisa Guimaraes wrote a Facebook post recounting how she was raped by a taxi driver in Rio de Janeiro, when she was 21 years old. She wrote about how she began to experience harassment by men from a very young age. "Like all women I have - hair pulled back, body straightened - walked with extreme fear when by myself. I have suffered verbal harassment," she wrote. "I've been chased down the street... for answering a workman who wanted to - in his words - 'eat all of you.' On the street, on the bus, partying, in college, day and night, aged 12 and 22."
She remembers first being harassed when she was nine or 10 and said that after that it happened nearly every day on the street. "It can happen when you're walking down the street and someone is catcalling all the time, or you're going to a party and some guy wants to talk to you or kiss you and you don't want him to... and he gets aggressive and starts calling you names," she told Trending. "That has happened a lot to me and to a lot of my friends. We live this every day."

'I was wolf-whistled at every day... from the age of 10 through to 16'
9 November 2015
Women around the world have been sharing their stories of "first harassment" - after BBC Trending reported on a conversation started by women in Brazil. On Monday, BBC Trending posted about how a series of suggestive messages were written on Twitter about a 12-year-old Masterchef contestant in Brazil. As we reported, the "primeiroassedio" hashtag - which translates as "first harassment" - was used over 90,000 times following the programme, as women and girls shared the stories of their first encounter with public sexual harassment. When we posted this story on the BBC News Facebook page, it got a strong reaction - with over 1,000 "likes" and many women from around the world chosing to share their own experiences. One woman from Britain told her own story. "We lived opposite and to the side of two steel fabrication companies," she wrote, "and I was wolf-whistled at every day when I came home for lunch from the age of 10 through to 16. I was desperately shy and mortified". That sentiment was echoed by a Facebook user who grew up in Portugal. She recalled: "by my 12th birthday I avoided passing in front of construction sites or places that I knew lots of men would be because of the sexual and degrading things they would shout. It got so bad that one day one touched me and I had to change my route to go to school. There was this 40-ish guy when I was 12 insisting on taking me for coffee and pizza right that very moment while I was waiting on a bus on my way home," said another woman from Holland. "He grabbed me, but the bus arrived and I managed to get in. This happened on a busy shopping street at 8pm." Other women added that this behaviour has continued to follow them around in later life. "I'm so glad I'm out of Chile. The constant sexual harassment every time I simply walked down the street on my way to work. Boring middle aged teacher in conservative clothes, being hissed and whistled at and other more creepy things. Another added: "it has been nonstop since I was 10, it's exhausting. I wish men would behave."

Australia convicts two over female genital mutilation
12 November 2015
The girls' clitorises were mutilated in a ceremony known as "khatna". An Australian court has found two women guilty of carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM) on two young girls, in the country's first such conviction. The incidents took place in separate incidents in 2009 and 2012 in Wollongong, New South Wales when the girls were each about seven years old. A man, Shabbir Mohammedbhai Vaziri, was found guilty of covering up the acts. FGM is when a girl's genitals are partly or wholly removed for non-medical reasons. It usually carried out for a number of cultural, religious and social reasons, and is associated with ideals of femininity and modesty in some societies. The women, who cannot been named, belong to a Muslim sect. One is the girls' mother, the other a 72-year-old former nurse. The court heard they had cut the genitals of the two young girls in ceremonies known as "khatna". Vaziri, a leader of the sect, was accused of ordering members to tell police they did not practice FGM. The three were released ahead of sentencing in February. They could face up to seven years in jail. FGM has been illegal in Australia for 20 years, but the case marked the first time such offences had come to trial, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Malala Yousafzai: Her father's daughter
(What about Mother's Daughter? Why vital role of the mother is ignored? LM)

6 Nov 2015
Malala Yousafzai and Davis GuggenheimImage copyright Twentieth Century Fox Image caption Davis Guggenheim wanted to make his documentary to understand where Malala found her courage and drive. It's been three years since the name Malala Yousafzai entered the collective consciousness, when the then unknown 15-year-old Pakistani girl was shot by the Taliban for defying their ban on female education in the country's Swat Valley. Her subsequent fight for survival and renewed vigour on recovery have proved an inspiration to millions around the world. Her courage has won her the Nobel Peace Prize and led to her becoming one of those rare individuals who can go by their first name alone. But behind her international profile is one of a normal teenager - and a daughter of a loving, united and inspirational family. It's this story, seemingly mundane yet so fundamental to who Malala is, that fascinated director Davis Guggenheim - maker of the Oscar-winning portrayal of US Democratic politician Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth - and led to his latest documentary He Named Me Malala. Guggenheim uses one-to-one interviews, news footage and animation to paint an intimate portrait of the Yousafzais's past and present - and in particular the influence of Malala's father Ziauddin on her life. The Yousafzai family. The Yousafzai family worked with Davis Guggenheim over a period of 18 months. The director explains: "People in the Swat Valley were being killed for standing up to the Taliban but there was this young girl who decided she was going to stand up to them.
"People don't fully understand this vital element of her story or where that determination comes from. "My first instinct in making this movie was that it is very much about a family, about a father's love and about a girl who feels empowered to do
amazing things. "If you cover that story, it speaks to girls all over the world."
Guggenheim filmed the Yousafzai family - Malala, her parents and two younger brothers - over 18 months. Much of the film takes place at the family's home in Birmingham, where they stayed following Malala's treatment at the city's hospital.
But Guggenheim also shows Malala on trips to the Middle East and Africa as part of her work for the Malala Fund - an education charity she established with her father - visiting schools, refugee camps and addressing world leaders. Guggenheim is himself passionate about the importance of education and has made documentaries on the US school system. And as a father to two girls, he seems the perfect candidate to enter Malala's world - but it didn't prevent the nerves that preceded their first encounter.
"I was walking on eggshells," he says. Ziauddin Yousafzai. In Pakistan, Ziauddin Yousafzai was a passionate social activist and a teacher, even establishing his own school, and was threatened by the Taliban. "But they were just hilarious and joyful. They tease each other and I found them remarkably enlightened and infinitely curious. I would leave their house invigorated. "They have a certain freedom from having risked their lives and Malala lives her life even more fearlessly - the little things in life just disappear." Malala's brothers Khushal, 15, and Atal, 11, are lively boys, dreaming of glorious futures and tirelessly jibing and arguing with their sister. "Look Malala, one day I will be an astronaut and a great sportsman and you will be known as my sister," says Atal. Her mother Toor Pekai is barely visible on camera due to her Pashtun sense of modesty but, says Guggenheim, she is "100% in control. When a big decision is being made all eyes turn to her". And Malala emerges as a just a normal teenager, struggling to get the best grades at school and bashfully doe-eyed over Roger Federer. It's an endearing picture but what truly stands out in this family story is Malala's bond with her father, who very visibly supports her in everything she wants to do. It's an attachment that began even before Malala was born. Malala Yousafzai. Malala's father says he knew she would be special from the moment he first saw her. In Pakistan, Ziauddin belied his slight physique and the difficulties of a stammer to become a passionate social activist and a teacher, even establishing his own school. In a patriarchal society in which "women are not known in public and their names are only known to family members", he was adamant his daughter would be different and named her after a legendary 19th Century Pashtun warrior heroine, Malalai of Maiwund. "Malalai had had a voice and I wanted my Malala to have the same - that she would have freedom and be brave and be known by her name," says Ziauddin. And it was immediately apparent she was special, he says. "I hesitate to romanticise or make it something superstitious by saying she was born a saint or prophet but I felt an immediate attachment to her. I saw a light in her eyes. She was very mature and sensible and mindful of others and was loved by the whole community."
Ziauddin put himself at considerable risk through his activism and received threats from the Taliban as a result. It caused Malala extreme anxiety yet she continued with her own activism and famously wrote a blog for the BBC under a pseudonym, about life in the Swat Valley. Though acknowledging he was a role model for his daughter, Ziauddin says he feels no guilt for what ultimately happened to her. "Guilt comes from when you do something sinful. When your basic human rights are violated and you don't stand up, that's a sin," he says. Malala Yousafzai meets Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin. Malala - here meeting Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin - will be a leader and voice for young women for a long time to come, says Davis Guggenheim.
"I didn't push my daughter; if I had she would have stopped. She would have said: 'Father you put me in a very bad situation, I got hit by a bullet, I am not going to do it anymore for you'. But she became more resilient, more committed and I've never heard her utter a single sigh or a single word which implies complaint or regret." And Malala - who has been left with some paralysis in her face and impaired hearing - vehemently backs her father. "My father only gave me the name Malalai. He didn't make me Malalai. I chose this life," she says. As for the future, Ziauddin shows characteristic defiance. He is sure the family will go back to Pakistan for good, he says, despite the welcome and freedom they are all grateful to have received in the UK. And he has faith that his daughter will know the right path for herself to tread. Guggenheim fully agrees. "When you do the DNA of Malala, she is a potent mix of both her parents. She gets her sense of mission from her father but her moral fibre, her religious clarity and forgiveness from her mother. Anything is possible for Malala. She is wholly equipped to be a leader and she is completely unique in that, when the big decisions are being made about girls education, she is the only young person at the table. She's a voice for all those girls who don't have a voice. She'll be that for a very long time." Movie "He Named Me Malala" opens in the UK on 6 November 2015.

Afghanistan's first female conductor

10 November 2015
I can see she's still learning it but what she lacks in experience, she makes up for with her spirit and passion. "Khosh Amadeed - welcome," says Negin with a shy smile. "Today my hands are aching a bit so I am not in a top form. But I love practising the piano. All I want is to become a very good concert pianist and conductor, not only in Afghanistan, but in the world," she says.
"So did you grow up around music?" I ask. "No," she says looking startled. She comes from a poor family in Kunar province, a conservative area - one of the strongholds of the Taliban insurgency in the north-east of Afghanistan.
"Girls in Kunar don't go to school and many are not allowed to study music by their families," she says. "So I had to go to Kabul to fulfil my dream. My father helped me."
For many years, the Taliban banned music and the education of girls in Afghanistan - and although many women still find themselves restricted, one 17-year-old has become the country's first female conductor. Kabul is a noisy place with helicopters, sirens, and heavy traffic. But walking into a building in one of the city's quieter neighbourhoods, I'm welcomed by quite a different sound. Boys and girls are playing the piano, cello and flute as well as traditional Afghan stringed instruments such as the rubab and sarod. This is the Afghanistan National Institute of Music - the only school of its kind in the country. The female students have just finished their first concert. Their male colleagues were watching and are now milling around, playing and chatting before heading home at the end of a big day. What was so special about this concert - apart from the fact that it was an all-female ensemble playing music to a big audience in the middle of violence-ridden Kabul - was that it was led by the country's very first female conductor, 17-year-old Negin Khpolwak who is also a student here. Photo - Negin playing the piano. Now, she has retreated along a concrete corridor to one of the rehearsal rooms where she's sitting at the piano playing one of her favourite pieces - a piano sonatina in C major by the Italian composer Muzio Clementi. The Afghanistan National Institute of Music. Afghan youths playing the violin at Afghanistan's National Institute for Music in Kabul, 2012. Set up in 2010 with help from the World Bank. Its teachers come from many countries including Afghanistan, the US, Australia, Russia, Colombia and India. It has a special focus on supporting the most disadvantaged members of Afghan society, particularly orphans and street vendors. When Negin was nine, he sent her to live in a children's home in Kabul so that she could get an education. That's where she first started listening to music and watching performances on television. She auditioned to join the institute and has been studying here for four years - of more than 200 students, about a quarter are girls. It wasn't all plain sailing though. Negin's mother was happy for her to go to school, but didn't like the idea of her studying music. She wasn't the only one who felt this way. "My uncle told us, 'No girls in our family should learn music. It's against tradition.'" Under pressure from her relatives, Negin had to leave the institute for six months. Eventually her father intervened, telling her uncle, "It's Negin's life. She should study music if she wants to. So I came back," she says. Negin, pictured in 2007 as a young child after she moved to Kabul. This is a common problem, according to Ahmad Sarmast, the founder and director of the institute.
"A child is enrolled with the full blessing of their parents but then an uncle or aunt or grandfather or village elder starts putting pressure on the parents to pull the child out of the music programme or from education in general."
It's not just tradition and conservatism that the institute has to contend with - there's also violence. There are many here who believe most music is sinful. Last year, one of the student concerts organised outside the campus was targeted by a
young suicide bomber - one person in the audience was killed while Sarmast's hearing was damaged and eleven pieces of shrapnel lodged in his head. "Does that not scare you, the prospect of further bombings?" I ask him. "No," he says.
"We are part of this struggle. We are standing against violence and terror with our arts and culture, particularly with music. That's one of the ways we can educate our people about the importance of living in peace and harmony, rather than killing each other." He looks at Negin. "Part of my inspiration is her and students like her, who keep coming here despite the difficulties."
In February 2013, Negin was chosen to represent the institute on a trip to the US where she performed at the Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, playing the sarod. "It was so amazing. I felt so good but I had always wanted to become a pianist," she says. So after she returned to Kabul, she started learning the piano and took up conducting as well. "It was my first time [conducting a performance] today. I was so happy. I cried when I got on the stage and saw all the people in the audience. I want Afghanistan to be like other countries in the world, where girls can become pianists and conductors." With that in mind, she's also been practising conducting male and female students together in the mixed orchestra.
"So, when you become a famous pianist and play abroad, can I come along for free? Or will I have to pay for an expensive ticket?" I ask. "Hmmm, no, sorry you have to pay," she jokes. I say goodbye promising, one day, to come to one of her concerts. And as we drive through checkpoints amid the noisy traffic, I can still hear Negin's beautiful music along with the faint but still persistent promise of hope in Afghanistan.

Raped, pregnant and afraid of being jailed  (in Dubai) - 2 videos
25 October 2015
In the United Arab Emirates, migrant women are routinely jailed for having sex outside marriage. Desperate to leave the country, one Filipina maid who was raped found a dramatic way to escape. There wasn't much in the village Monica left behind. No clinic, no school, no street lights - just a crossing of dirt roads and a few concrete houses roofed with tin. What really troubled her, though, was the lack of prospects. She had three young children and a husband who barely made enough to feed them. If she could work in the Gulf for even a few years, she thought, perhaps she'd be able to give those kids a different kind of life. It took 10 hours for the bus to reach the capital of the Philippines, Manila. There, Monica signed up to an employment agency and flew to the United Arab Emirates, where she began work as a maid for an Emirati family. The malls and skyscrapers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi were a world away from the rural poverty of her village, and at first Monica was excited to have a job. Gradually, though, she began to miss her children, and to feel ground down by the drudgery of the work and the meanness of her employers. People walk across a main road in 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. There was another servant in the house, a driver from Pakistan. A few months after Monica arrived, the family went out for the day, leaving her alone with the driver.
"I was in the kitchen, cleaning. Then he came in… He was holding a knife while he forced himself on me… there was nothing I could do. I was alone. Even if I screamed, I was alone."
Three months later, having told no one about the rape, Monica realised she was pregnant. Under the laws of the UAE, sex outside marriage is a criminal offence. Since Monica had no way to prove she had been raped, the pregnancy stood as evidence of her guilt. Fearing imprisonment, Monica hid the pregnancy as long as she was able. "I knew that they might send me to jail and I was really scared," she says. Maids photographed in Abu Dhabi. Human rights groups have voiced concern on the treatment of domestic servants in Gulf States. Under Islamic Sharia, which forms the basis of the UAE's Penal Code, extramarital sex is classified as Zina - a category that also includes adultery, fornication and homosexuality.
There are no official figures on the number of people prosecuted under the Zina laws. What is clear, though, is that the weight of these laws falls overwhelmingly on the thousands of Asian and African women who have been brought to the Emirates to cook and clean in the homes of the rich. An investigation by BBC Arabic suggests that hundreds of migrant women are imprisoned in the UAE every year for Zina crimes, including consensual sex. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the UAE's Zina codes violate international human rights law. Rights groups also point out that the Zina laws are applied disproportionately to women. Although domestic workers have been sentenced to flogging - and, in extreme cases, stoning - for Zina crimes, there is no evidence that these punishments are actually carried out in the UAE. The BBC's investigation does confirm, however, that women accused of sex outside marriage are routinely shackled and chained. Footage, filmed secretly in a UAE courtroom, shows a young Filipina woman shuffling along a corridor with her feet chained together.
Video - Secret filming in the UAE shows a Filipina woman in chains !
Sharla Musabih, an American activist who spent more than 20 years in the UAE running a shelter for vulnerable and abused women, says that in Abu Dhabi she saw an Ethiopian domestic worker chained to a hospital bed by her ankles just hours after giving birth. Like Monica, the Ethiopian woman had been raped. Rothna Begum, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, reported the case of an Indonesian woman who, having jumped from a balcony in an attempt to escape an abusive employer, was cuffed to a hospital bed by her hands and feet. The shackling and chaining of women accused of running away or of breaking the Zina laws is, Begum says, "standard practice in the UAE". The UAE government has not responded to requests from the BBC to discuss the Zina laws and the treatment of migrant domestic workers. For Monica, as for other pregnant women facing jail for unlawful sex, the obvious way out is to leave the country. But here again, Monica found herself trapped by the laws of the UAE. Domestic workers are brought to the Emirates under something called the Kafala system - an arrangement in which a migrant's right to work, to change jobs, and to go home is entirely dependent upon the employer who sponsors their entry into the country. The dependency created by the Kafala system, as well as the lack of adequate legal protections, leaves domestic servants vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. The scale of that abuse may never be fully known. In 2014, Human Rights Watch interviewed 99 of an estimated 146,000 female domestic workers now employed in the UAE. Most reported working long hours of unpaid overtime - in extreme cases, 21 hours per day - and many said that their wages had been withheld. Others had been confined to their employers' houses, or deprived of food or rest. Twenty-four reported physical or sexual abuse. Almost all had had their passports confiscated, despite this being unlawful in the UAE. Some of the women, HRW concluded, "described situations that may amount to slavery under international law. Several workers said their employers seemed to think they had purchased them."
In the summer of 2014, no longer able to hide her pregnancy, Monica begged her Emirati "madam" to let her return to the Philippines. Her employer, invoking her rights under the Kafala system, said, "Why should I send you home? You haven't finished your contract."
If she had given birth in the UAE it is likely that Monica, too, would have been taken to court in chains. But almost seven months into her pregnancy, she found a dramatic way to escape. Using Facebook, Monica contacted the host of a popular radio talk show in the Philippines. She gave him the number of a mobile phone that she kept hidden in the kitchen. The talk show host called Monica a short while later. The radio show that helped a trapped Filipina maid escape the UAE. Live on air, locked in the bathroom of her employer's house, Monica told thousands of listeners that she had been raped, that she was pregnant, and that she was desperate to get back home. "I want to leave but they won't let me," she said.
"Monica, does you family know about this here in the Philippines?" the radio host asked, "No, they don't know," she replied. "That's the most painful part of this story," the host told listeners. "She has a husband in the Philippines and he doesn't know."
Photo - Monica's hands.

Monica's gamble paid off. The blaze of publicity generated by her call forced the government in Manila to lean on the authorities in the UAE. Within weeks - just long enough to train a replacement house maid from Indonesia - Monica's employers returned her passport, bought her a ticket, and sent her back to the Philippines. From the employment agency in Manila, Monica called her family. "At first my husband could not accept it. He was very angry. He blamed me, and said, 'That's what you get for wanting to work abroad.' But then he thought about it, and he said, 'Come home.'"Accompanied by her father, Monica made the long drive back to the village. It was not the homecoming she had dreamed of. "If [your husband] can't accept the child," her mother suggested, "give the child to me. We will raise him."
After a while, though, Monica's husband calmed down. "Why give the child to your mother?" he told her. "Let him be ours." Monica is now back in the Philippines with her husband. Monica is one of five women featured in a BBC Arabic documentary "Pregnant and in Chains", which investigates what happens to unmarried women, who fall pregnant in the UAE. Pregnant and in Chains will open the BBC Arabic Film Festival at Broadcasting House in London on Friday 30 October. It will be available to view on the BBC Arabic website in November. Monica was eight months pregnant when she spoke with the BBC at her home in the Philippines. A medical examination had confirmed that she was carrying a baby boy. We have been unable to contact her si
Almaz's story
The abuse of maids in the Middle East is a familiar tale. Benjamin Dix and Lindsay Pollock tell the disturbing story of a young Ethiopian woman who took a job as a domestic help in Saudi Arabia but was treated like a slave.

Migrant crisis: Dutch alarm over child brides from Syria

20 October 2015
Child marriage is outlawed by several international agreements. A 14-year-old girl has gone missing from a Dutch asylum centre. Police say Fatema Alkasem was nine months pregnant and may be in need of medical care. She is also thought to be a "child bride", and her case has highlighted the problem that the Netherlands faces in providing asylum for girls who married in Syria but are below the Dutch age of consent. The government in The Hague is rushing to close a loophole in the asylum law which has so far allowed child brides to be reunited with their husbands in the Netherlands. The practice has inflamed debate about how the Netherlands is responding to the refugee crisis, with some arguing it is condoning paedophilia.
'Foster care'
As many as 20 girls between the ages of 13 and 15 have been given legal permission to join their older partners at Dutch asylum centres, according to regional news channel RTV-Noord. The figures were reportedly obtained from a leaked immigration service document.
"A 12-year-old girl with a 40-year-old-man - that is not a marriage, that is abuse", says opposition Labour politician Attje Kuiken. "We're talking about really young children, girls 12, 13 years old. I want to protect these children. The government should take them into foster care and protect them, because before the new law comes into force, they can still be subject to abuse."
Fatema Alkasem who has disappeared (police photo from 31 Aug). Police have issued an appeal for the whereabouts of Fatema Alkasem. The age of sexual consent in the Netherlands is 16 but migration minister Klaas Dijkhoff has told the BBC that the country currently recognises marriages involving young teenagers, as long as they are officially registered in their country of origin.
"At the moment we do have a problem with the bracket between 15 and 18. We want to be more strict, (and in future we will) not recognise the relationship. The amendment means that family reunification applications will only recognise marriages if both partners are over the age of 18. So if you're a man with an underage wife," Mr Dijkhoff warns, "you won't make it in time to bring over your underage wife."
Political repercussions
The new rules are due to come into force in December. In the meantime, there are concerns for the welfare of married Syrian teenagers who are already living the Netherlands, like 14-year-old Fatema. She disappeared from the country's main asylum centre in Ter Apel two months ago. A police spokeswoman told the BBC they feared she had been taken overseas. She has been placed on their list of missing children. Refugees register in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, 30 September 2015. The Dutch government says it has vastly under-estimated the cost of looking after new arrivals. The failure to pre-empt the rising tide of refugees is having political repercussions. More than 36,000 people entered the Netherlands this year. Former prisons, empty government offices and sports halls are being hastily modified to accommodate the surge in numbers. Earlier this month, Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem announced that the treasury's original predictions of €300m (£220m) to cover the cost of the new arrivals in 2015 was a vast underestimate. They are now looking at a bill of approximately €1bn. The anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV) is enjoying its highest ever poll rating. The Freedom Party's popularity is being partly attributed to Dutch concern about the continent's inability to manage the flow of new arrivals.
Syrian "child brides" and International Law
"Alarming increase" in number of child marriages within Syrian refugee communities in Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon, says 'Save the Children'. One key reason is to protect the girls from sexual assault and other hardship. It is also seen as safeguarding family honour. It reduces economic burden on refugee families. But child marriage threatens a girl's physical and mental health. It is outlawed by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The right to free and full consent from both parties is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 16). I met two Syrian friends from Aleppo, Majd and Samo. They are worried that the child brides issue may be further tainting the Dutch view of Syrian people and their culture.
"The refugees here have a culture shock right now. We bring with us our beliefs, our traditions and they're not easy to break," says Majd. Majd from Aleppo believes Syrians arriving in the Netherlands have to take account of Dutch laws
"Our problem is that Dutch people can't see the difference between Syrians but it's our responsibility to deal with these new laws." Samo remembers meeting a young girl who was married at a refugee camp in Den Helder.
"I'm a refugee but I was working there in food distribution. I was very moved. I thought the guy was her little brother. When she said, 'this is my son', I was shocked. She was 14 years old. She accepted her fate, but it's wrong."
Majd has been informally adopted by a Dutch family who invite him round for home-cooked meals and help with his language skills. Many Dutch people do support those who have fled the conflict zones. But there are complex challenges in accommodating them. And as the reaction to the reports on child brides shows, cultural integration can be complicated.

In the lion's den: The Indian women who answer cat calls

23 Oct 2015
Rasila Vadher (left) and Darshana Kagada (right). For a group of women forest guards working in India's Gir sanctuary, the only home to Asiatic lions, protecting and rescuing big cats is all in a day's work. The BBC's Geeta Pandey travels to Gir forest to meet some of them. Rasila Vadher treating a lion. Rasila Vadher was among the first batch of women guards recruited by the forest department in the western state of Gujarat in 2007. The women's unit was set up that year, when then Gujarat chief  minister Narendra Modi - now India's prime minister - ordered a 33% quota for women in Gir. At the time, "I knew nothing about the forest department, animals or Gir", she tells me as we sit chatting in her office in the rescue centre, interrupted at regular intervals by growling leopards and roaring lions.
"My father had died early and my mother worked on other people's farms to send me and my younger brother to school. People in my community are very conservative so they told my mother, 'why educate the girl, she will get married and cook for her husband's family'. But my mother agreed to educate me because I wanted to study," she said. In 2007, Vadher heard that the forest department was hiring guards, so she took her brother to the recruitment centre. "I wanted him to get a job in the forest department.  He was asked to take a physical fitness test, where he had to run and participate in a high-jump and long-jump competition. But he chickened out, so I decided to try my luck. And I made it through," she says. Rasila Vadher feeding a lion cub.  Initially she was assigned office work, "but that was boring, so I thought let's try something new". When Vadher began working as a guard in the field, protecting and rescuing wild animals, her male colleagues weren't too enthused about having a woman in their midst. "Will we have to take care of the animals, or this woman?" they asked. "I said let me try and we'll see how it goes," she says, adding that she "loves a good challenge". Rasila treating an injured leopard. Today, Vadher has come a long way from those days - she's a highly respected member of the rescue team and has been involved in nearly 900 rescues - 200 of them involving lions and 425 involving leopards. Recently, along with some of the other women guards, Vadher has played a starring role in a four-part Discovery Channel series called The Lion Queens of India. "My most memorable rescue was on 18 March 2012," she tells me. Rasila Vadher rescues a leopard from a well. 
"A leopard had fallen into a well, chasing a civet cat. The well had been newly-dug, it was dry and about 60-foot deep. We tried to tranquilise it, but we kept missing it because it was too far away. So I said I would go down in a cage and once the
leopard is in range I would shoot the dart. "I was lowered into the well in a small metal cage with a dart gun. The leopard was angry and growling. I had no experience and I was really afraid. But I fired the dart and hit the target. Once the animal was tranquilised, I captured it in a rope cage and it was hauled up," she says. Vadher, who married last year, says she had warned her husband before they married. "I told him this is my work. And it's 24x7. I may be called in even at 3am. And I'll be working with men. He agreed. He understands and has no problems."
Darshana Kagada. Kagada comes from a family of eight sisters, and has no brothers.
"I belong to the Rajput caste which is very conservative. Girls and women in our families are treated as inferior beings. We are meant to get married, look after our families, cook and clean, and not have a career," she says. Her father, she says, was no different in his beliefs. "I had just finished senior school in 2011 when I heard that the forest department was recruiting. I went to my sister's house and persuaded her husband to take me for the exam. For 600 posts, there were 600,000 applicants," she says, adding that the competition was "very tough. First I had to clear the physical fitness test. Then I was taken on a 10km walk through the forest where I had to identify flora and fauna. That was followed by a written test and then an oral examination." She told her father only after she got the job. "Today, he's very proud of me," she says. Photograph of three lion cubs taken by Sandeep Kumar, Deputy Conservator of Forests in Gir.
On a cool October morning, 24-year-old Kagada escorts me into the lush green Gir forest. We are in an open jeep and just a few minutes into our journey, we stop as we come across three guards patrolling the forest on foot.
Darshana Kagada with a group of lionesses and cubs in the backgroundA lioness with her cub photographed by Sandeep Kumar, Deputy Conservator of Forests in GirImage copyright Sandeep Kumar, Gir forest official
As Kagada chats with them, I turn to my left, and there, less than three metres from us are three lionesses lounging around with five cubs. The guards only have wooden sticks, but they seem unconcerned.
"Lions are royal animals. They don't care about you and me," explains Kagada. "They will attack humans only if we intrude into their space, or if they feel you are threatening their cubs or you get too close to them when they are mating."
As the lionesses settle down to take a nap, we continue to hang around, chatting and looking at them. The only time one of the lionesses turns her head to look in our direction is when one of the guards starts talking a bit loudly on his walkie-talkie. Kagada is among 48 women guards who are involved in the protection and rescue of lions and leopards in Gir. She also trains forest guards and officials and teaches nature education courses to school children.
"I love my job, lots of children, especially girls, tell me they want to be like me," Kagada says. "These women guards are an inspiration to women all over the country," says Sandeep Kumar, Deputy Conservator of Forests in Gir. "Even Prime Minister Modi has said that people don't come to Gir to see lions, they come to see these women guards," he adds.
Geeta Ratadiya
For as long as she can remember, Ratadiya always wanted to be a forest guard. "I was born in Gir, my grandfather and my father both worked as forest guards," she says. Unlike Vadher and Kagada who had never seen a lion until they became forest guards, Ratadiya had her first encounter with the big cats when she was just four years old. "My father used to take me to the forest with him all the time. One day I saw him standing close to a lion and a lioness. I was very afraid, I thought they would attack him, I started to cry," she says with a laugh. She continued to accompany her father into the jungle and, she says, gradually the fear faded. "when I told my parents that I wanted to work in the forest, my mother thought I was too frail and would not qualify. She was thrilled when I was selected. But I always wanted to wear the khaki uniform and carry a walkie-talkie like my dad." In the six years that she has worked as a forest guard, Ratadiya has been involved in many rescue operations and also takes care of the animals at the rescue centre. On the days there is no rescue, there is plenty for her to do, taking care of injured, sick and abandoned animals. Ratadiya had been married for just a couple of months when she got the forest department job. Today, she often takes her two-year-old daughter to work. "She pesters me to bring her here every day. She loves looking at lions and other animals."
I ask her if her daughter will also grow up to be a forest guard. "No," she says, adding, "I don't mind if she joins the department, but I want her to study and be a senior official."

Violinist highlights a decade of online abuse - video
22 October 2015
Mia Matsumiya, a violinist based in Los Angeles, has taken a stand against sexual harassment and abuse online by posting screenshots of offensive messages she's received over the past decade. She is using Instagram to highlight the violence, aggression and volume of inappropriate messages she has received, and hopes it will shine a light on online abuse of women.

Michelle Obama Works Out. May 20, 2015. First lady Michelle Obama demonstrates her workout routine, ranging from plyometrics, to weights, to kickboxing, as part of the White House’s “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity.

Michelle Obama was born a man.  Oct 31, 2014. Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, was born Michael LaVaughn Robinson in Chicago, Illinois on January 17th, 1964. He was the second son born to Fraser Robinson III, a well known cocaine dealer and union thug for Crime Lord/Mayor Richard J. Daley, and Marian Shields Robinson, a transient street prostitute who was diagnosed with the HIV virus in 1998. He was a popular high school athlete...

Met Police officer charged with seven counts of rape - England
19 October 2015
Policeman Michael Graham has been suspended from his job while the case remains active. A Met Police officer has been charged with seven counts of rape. PC Michael Graham, 47, an officer in Hounslow, has also been charged with assault. The offences are alleged to have taken place between 24 December 2013 and 2 September 2014 while the officer was off duty. He was arrested on 6 October and is due to appear at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on 21 October. The Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed, Scotland Yard said.

Bernie Sanders booed for praising Clinton
25 July 2016
Supporters of Bernie Sanders booed after the senator urged them to support Hillary Clinton on day one of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Michelle Obama hits out at Donald Trump
26 July 2016
Michelle Obama opened this year's Democratic convention with a rallying cry for Hillary Clinton and a warning for Republican Donald Trump. The First Lady focused on the responsibility for the next president, the legacy they will leave, and the historical significance of the first female party nomination. She reinforced her support for Hillary Clinton, while making several pointed references about Mr Trump.

Феномен "Электрических женщин"
Знаменитый американский фантаст Стивен Кинг одну из своих книг посвятил девочке, которая могла вызвать огонь, посмотрев на какой-либо предмет. При этом, отмечает писатель, ее нужно было довести до состояния крайнего стресса — как следует разозлить или испугать. Фантаст, наверное, не думал и не гадал, что подобный феномен существует на самом деле. Правда, в несколько ином виде...Говорят, этот случай произошел в 2001 году в цехе одного петербургского оборонного предприятия. Женщины из утренней смены, привычно оставив всю свою одежду в шкафчиках, приняли душ и переоделись в хлопчатобумажную заводскую форму. Пройдя герметичный тамбур, они сели на стулья с заземленными сиденьями и включили освещение рабочих столов. И вдруг раздался тревожный сигнал обычно молчавшего индикатора электростатического поля. Невольно взгляды всех обратились на новенькую в смене. К ней подошел мастер цеха, попросил встать и прикоснуться к контакту контрольного прибора. Так и есть, на теле новенькой был потенциал в несколько тысяч вольт. Одно ее прикосновение к плате, и дорогой прибор был бы загублен. Позже, в беседе с заводским психологом, женщина рассказала следующую историю. Оказалось, что она уже работала в этом цехе несколько лет назад. Потом вышла замуж за офицера, родила дочку и ушла с хорошо оплачиваемой работы воспитательницей в детский садик, чтобы быть поближе к своему ребенку. Но потом случилась трагедия — муж погиб в Чечне, зарплаты воспитательницы на жизнь не хватало, и она решила вернуться на прежнее место. О своей необычной способности наводить электростатическое поле, появившейся как одно из последствий шока по случаю утраты мужа, женщина узнала лишь в цехе. До этого ничего подобного за собой не замечала. Поначалу заводские специалисты решили, что, может быть, разряд наведенный, то есть образовавшийся, скажем, при расчесывании волос или при трении во время ходьбы тапочек о линолеум пола. Однако последующие проверки показали, что поле довольно устойчиво и резко повышает свой потенциал, стоит женщине разволноваться. Пришлось ей подыскивать другую работу. Этот случай довольно редкий, но не единственный, отмечает расследовавший его кандидат физико-математических наук Валентин Псаломщиков. Нечто подобное, оказывается, уже не раз описывалось как в специальной медицинской, так и популярной литературе. Одно из первых достоверно зафиксированных сообщений подобного рода относится к 1895 году. Речь тогда шла о о американке Денни Моран из штата Миссури. С детства она отличалась нервозностью. Данный феномен начал проявляться у девочки с 14 лет. Из ее пальцев вылетали длинные искры, когда она касалась металлических предметов. А ее любимая кошка при этом в ужасе пряталась. В 1895 году доктор Эршкрафт пожелал лично проверить слухи о девочке — «лейденской банке». Не вняв предупреждению родителей, недоверчивый доктор попытался взять Денни за руки, получив сильный удар током, потерял сознание. Очнувшись, эскулап не пожелал продолжить опасные эксперименты, но описал удивительный случай в медицинском вестнике. До этого в научной литературе США был отмечен лишь один аналогичный случай с жительницей штата Онтарио, восемнадцатилетней Каролиной Клер. После тяжелой болезни она вдруг приобрела способность генерировать мощные электрические заряды, сбивая с ноги любого, кто к ней прикасался, в том числе и потенциального жениха. Но, к счастью, это неприятное явление вскоре исчезло. В начале XX века доктор Робин Битч был приглашен для расследований странных поджогов на одной из фабрик в штате Огайо. Однажды было зафиксировано восемь возгораний в течение только одного дня. Виновницей их оказалась женщина, недавно поступившая на работу. Причем она вовсе не была злостной поджигательницей. На ее теле, словно у электрического угря, периодически возникал потенциал свыше 30 тысяч вольт при сопротивлении кожи около 5 тысяч Ом/м. При этом в руках женщины начинали тлеть и загораться сухие стружки и бумага. Аналогичный случай произошел в 80-х годах в малярном цехе одного из ленинградских заводов. Пожары начались, когда цех перешел на новый, более летучий импортный растворитель. Конкретной же виновницей возгораний стала одна из женщин-маляров. Стоило ей взять в руки незаземленный краскораспылитель, как из него, словно из огнемета, начинало струей бить пламя. Причем электропотенциал тела работницы резко возрастал после того, как женщина ссорилась с кем-либо из коллег по работе, мастером или домочадцами. Своеобразный же рекорд поставила примерно в те же годы домохозяйка из Голландии Полин Шоу. Одним своим прикосновением Полин пережигала телевизоры, холодильники и даже утюги. Причем телевизоры она ухитрялась выводить из строя даже на расстоянии — не только у себя дома, но и в магазине. Однажды ее даже арестовали, поскольку она вывела из строя в супермаркете новейшую электронную кассу. Феноменом заинтересовались ученые и выявили, что потенциал ее тела достигал 200 тысяч вольт. Он лишь незначительно и кратковременно снижался после приема душа. Женщине тут же запретили водить машину и близко подходить к бензозаправке. Иначе, взяв в руки заправочный пистолет, она могла запросто взорвать бензоколонку. Уже упомянутый Робин Битч в ходе исследования аналогичных случаев установил, что способствовать возникновению феномена, кроме стресса, может особый тип сухой кожи. И таких «счастливчиков» приходится один-два на сто тысяч нормальных людей. Подавляющая часть среди них — женщины. Окончательное исследование феномена далеко не закончено. Но то, что уже известно, позволяет предположить следующее. Скорее всего, данное явление имеет ту же природу, что и накапливание электростатических полей скатами, угрями и другими «электрическими» существами. Однако если у тех же скатов природа создала для накопления электричества специальные органы, то организмы «электрических людей» сами по себе представляют конденсаторы. Имея личные неприятности, такие люди представляют громадную опасность для окружающих, например, в шахтах, нефтеперегонных заводах и на транспорте, не говоря уже об убытках, которые они приносят, выводя из строя дорогостоящую электронную технику. Снизить риск поражения окружающих людей и предметов можно, надев перед походом, скажем, в супермаркет, резиновые хозяйственные перчатки. Тогда, по крайней мере, есть надежда удержать на какое-то время заряд в себе. А потом уж специально разрядить его дома, прикоснувшись, например, к громоотводу. Известный конструктор авиационных моторов академик А.А. Микулин так и вообще работал, заземлившись специальной проводкой. Таким образом, объяснял конструктор, он поддерживал в своем теле минимальный электрический потенциал, что благотворно сказывалось на его мышлении и здоровье. По этой ли причине или по какой иной, но прожил академик 90 лет, до глубокой старости сохранив высокую работоспособность.

Бразилия в шоке от видео группового изнасилования 16-летней девочки
27/05 - 2016
Бразилия шокирована групповым изнасилованием 16-летней девочки, о котором стало известно после того, как насильники выложили в “Твиттере“видеозапись своего преступления. Сейчас полиция разыскивает более 30 жителей Рио-де-Жанейро, подозреваемых в этом изнасиловании. В социальных сетях развернулась кампания с требованием положить конец “культуре изнасилований” в бразильском обществе. К ней присоединились исполняющий обязанности президента страны Мишел Темер, Дилма Русеф. В ответ на женоненавистнические комментарии, которые сопровождали видеозапись изнасилования. “Мы заявляем, что это варварское преступление, и все общество поднялось в связи с серьезностью ситуации, поскольку это зеркало, это отражение того консерватизма, который еще существует в нашем обществе, патриархальном обществе”, – говорит бразильская правозащитница Арланза Ребело. По данным Бразильского форума общественной безопасности в 2014 году в полицию было подано почти 48 тысяч заявлений об изнасилованиях. При этом, по оценкам экспертов, в полицию обращаются лишь 35% жертв сексуального насилия.

Sweden's Migrant Rape Epidemic.
30 May 2016. Where did peaceful, low-crime Sweden go? Why does Sweden now have the second-highest number of rapes in the world, after only Lesotho? Here is Ingrid Carlqvist of is Gatestone Institute..

A Mob Of 'Foreign Youths' Assault 35 Females At Swedish Music Festival

Jul 5, 2016
The number of sexual assaults in Europe as a result of the refugee crisis has been something that we have covered extensively, most notably the "monstrous" attacks by men "of Arab or North African origin" that occurred on German women in Cologne during a New Year celebration (that led to the ministry actually trying to scrub the word "rape" from internal reports). However, there have been other instances, such as an assault by a "dark skinned" man on a 13 year old girl at a pool in the town of Mistelbach, Austria. Now we learn that a mob of "foreign youths" sexually assaulted 35 females as young as 12 years old at a Swedish music festival. At least 35 females aged between 12 and 17 reported being attacked during the Party in the Park festival in Karlstad on Friday and Saturday night, and some of the alleged victims reported being 'kissed and groped' in a situation reminiscent of the Cologne New Year attacks the Daily Mail reports. 17 year old victim Alexandra Larsson waived her right to anonymity to describe in detail how an attacker targeted her while Larsson was watching the event. Larsson tells how boys that "were not from a Swedish background" started groping her, and threatening her by saying "you will die, b***h.
'Everything was okay at the beginning of the evening. But things got out of hand during the last concert with John de Sohn that started at midnight. At first we were pushed right up against the stage by the massive crowd. Everyone around us behaved really badly and my friends told a couple of boys to quieten down. They were then threatened by the boys who said “you will die, b***h”. But the verbal abuse was just beginning. It would become much worse. We managed to walk away from those boys after a while and started watching the concert. That was when I felt the first touch against my bottom. Then someone took the liberty of grabbing my butt really hard. I turned away and said to the group of boys behind us that this was not okay, but I did not know who had done it. After a while, I felt someone running his fingers between my legs touching my genitals. Luckily, I had jeans on me.' After the harassment, she turned around and said to the group of young men standing next to her that they should stop what they were doing. But everyone around her claimed to be innocent. It then happened again, she said. 'I turned around and screamed right out that "whoever it was - you're a pig!" I told my friends what had just happened and they were all shocked. Me and my girlfriends decided to leave the concert, because we could not see who it was. It was just a sea of ??people.' Ms Larsson described a feeling of powerlessness as the festival she and her friends had been looking forward to was completely destroyed. 'It was creepy. Someone stood around me and groped me and I had no idea who it was. It was sick. We had come there to have fun, but the festival only lasted 20 minutes for us because it was so uncomfortable. 'The groping was at first a bit innocent. Just a touch on the bottom. Something that you can do by mistake in a big crowd of people. But it became worse and worse after that. The one touching me was becoming more and more rough every time. She said that the boys around them were about 17 or 18-years-old but 'those standing behind me were not from a Swedish background.' 'They were probably immigrants. I hate to say it. But it is the truth,' she said. Larsson recalled seeing another friend crying from the audience, and by the time they left the concert she could see crying girls everywhere. Larsson believes that the attackers behave this way because they don't believe they'll get caught. 'I have reported this to the police, but it feels like a drop in the ocean. I saw girls that came crying from the audience, including an old childhood friend who is two years younger. She cried so much that it broke my heart. 'The same thing had happened to her in front of the stage. A bunch of teenagers hidden in the crowd had grabbed her bottom, breast and genitals.

'I think that at least hundreds were molested at the festival. There are probably loads of unrecorded incidents. Girls who have a low self esteem might think that it is their fault - that perhaps they did something wrong to provoke it.
But they are wrong. Nobody gets to touch a woman without her own permission.'I could see crying girls everywhere around me when I left the festival. I don't know if they all had been groped, but most of them probably had been violated in front of the stage. Ms Larsson said that she was 'strong and could cope with it' but added: 'When a 14-year-old girl who is not as strong becomes a victim, she can be completely destroyed. That is what is so sick. It happens all the time but we can not do anything about it. 'I do not know what to think, it is so wrong. Everyone thinks it's wrong but nothing happens. There are large festivals with several thousand people and these mass incidents create a powerlessness for both the police, security guards and especially for visitors who become victims. 'The perpetrators will be so anonymous in the audience that they will get away with sex crimes. That is the main problem, that the perpetrators get away with it.'It's not okay. I should be able to go to festivals and have fun like everyone else without being afraid. It is wrong, really wrong, but that's the feeling I have after yesterday. It's damn hard that ordinary people who just want to have fun should have to suffer just because someone thinks it's fun to violate. She said that she believed the problem was spreading 'because attackers know they will not get caught'. But she added that police took it 'really seriously' when she reported the incident and is hoping that this will lead to something. 'I will not visit the festival again. It was so uncomfortable, I do not want to risk that happening to me one more evening.

Chinese women use social media to challenge sexual assault taboo

WomenRightsActivists2016China.jpg  FirstLadyPeng2016China.jpg
30 June 2016
Li Tingting in the middle and two others wear paint-spattered wedding dressesImage copyright CFP Image caption Activists including Li Tingting (pictured in the middle) have previously protested against domestic violence. Chinese women are increasingly taking to social media to speak out against sexual harassment. In recent weeks, there has been an upsurge in campaigning comments on popular microblog Sina Weibo, where users are encouraging victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and rape to make their voices heard. Rape can be taboo in China and victims are often afraid to come forward. Domestic violence can also be stigmatised, and China only passed its first domestic violence law in December 2015. Moreover, women's rights activists in China have sometimes struggled to speak out. In 2015, five prominent activists were arrested, prompting international online campaigns. 'Didn't realise it was rape'. One of the biggest stories dominating social media in recent days has been the alleged rape of a female intern at a Chinese media company. Police in southern Guangzhou say they have arrested a reporter working for the Southern Daily newspaper. Two other interns have said they were sexually harassed by the individual. The Intern hashtag has been trending for the past two days and social media users have been particularly interested in an exclusive interview conducted with the alleged victim by the Women Awakening rights group. Using the pseudonym Little Flower, she said she initially "didn't realise it was rape" and had thought of rape as "a stranger in the street... using violence, a knife to force you". She added that she didn't think much would come of the case, as she described her alleged attacker as "well-known". Domestic abuse. Weibo users have also been following an incident of alleged domestic violence in northern China.
The hashtag - #BeatenBecauseBoyfriendSuspectedCheating has been trending after images circulated of Beijing-based user "YuzuSama" with black eyes and bruises. After the images gained traction online, YuzuSama said she had been encouraged to go to hospital and to contact the police, an alleged domestic violence incident. Weibo users told her "not to be afraid" after she posted from the police station that her boyfriend had been arrested. She told users on 30 June: "When I saw him, I was still terribly scared." Thousands of female users have also been making their voices heard against other, more routine, offences. In the past month, Weibo campaigns including #ShanghaiMetroWolf, #NowAWretchedManOnChengduMetro and #TwoWomenMolestedonMetroLine13 have been trending, after a number of women decided to "out" men who had touched them inappropriately on crowded subways. In April, Zhengzhou in eastern China introduced its first women-only bus in an attempt to reduce the number of sexual assaults. The concept of single-sex transport is relatively new to China and sparked debate on social media, with some welcoming the idea, and others asking whether such measures are divisive. "Not all men are bad, but aren't all men being discriminated against here?" one asked at the time. Social media users have been "outing" men who commit offences on crowded subways. Sex education. First Lady Peng Liyuan is a special envoy for the Advancement of Girls' and Women's Education at Unesco, and has spoken at the United Nations about women finding empowerment through education. Yet there are still challenges within the education system about how sex education should be taught, with social media users saying that attitudes towards sex are outdated. Weibo users reacted angrily in late June to a sex education textbook which described girls who have premarital sex as "cheap". The High School Sex Education book said that premarital sex has a "tremendous negative psychological and physical impact on girls". Women in China have not met with much success in the past on encouraging an open, collective discussion about women's rights, which is why they have been increasingly going online. In March 2015, ahead of International Women's Day, five prominent women's rights activists were detained after planning events calling for an end to sexual harassment. Rights groups including Amnesty International launched an international social media campaign, urging users on platforms including Twitter to use the hashtag #FreeTheFive. The women were released a month later but protests in China in favour of women's rights are still discouraged. They are seen as acts of dissent, punishable by criminal law.

Brian Blessed: Women are my religion - video
29 June 2016
Brian Blessed is keeping it in the family as he directs his first play. The actor's wife Hildegard Neil and daughter Rosalind Blessed, both star in The Hollow, which has its first night at The Mill at Sonning on 7 July.

'No-one would marry me unless I had female genital mutilation (FGM)'
23 June 2016
"Zara" is the first person in the UK to be given a joint court order to protect her from both forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). Her father tried to arrange a forced marriage for her on several occasions, but was told by prospective partners -and their families - that they would not marry her unless she underwent FGM, also known as female circumcision.

The house where the Philippines' forgotten 'comfort women' were held - 2 videos

ComfortWomenPhilippines.jpg   ComfortWomenProtest.jpg
17 June 2016
Sisters Lita and Mileng return to the Red House in Mapanique, Philippines. Hundreds of thousands of women and girls across Asia were raped and forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War Two. Some have been offered a direct apology and compensation from the Japanese government - but not in the Philippines. The last survivors there want their suffering to finally be acknowledged. "At night there are evil spirits - my mother and brother used to see the ghost of an old woman." With this warning the caretaker unlocks the gates to the Red House. "After the war, no one wanted to live here," he says. "They were too scared." Today the majestic blood-red villa is crumbling, but memories of the atrocities committed inside it haven't faded.The Red House, Mapanique. Many women and girls were assaulted by Japanese soldiers in the Red House. Lita and her sister Mileng live in the nearby village of Mapanique, about 50 miles north of the capital Manila. Now in their mid-80s, they recall a simple but happy childhood. "We used to play hopscotch and tag. We'd climb trees and pick fruit," says Lita. They were 13 and 15 years old when Japanese soldiers attacked their village in 1944. Everyone was forced to watch as the men were executed, suspected of being resistance fighters, the sisters recall. One old man was castrated and forced to eat his own penis. Mapanique was looted and razed. Then the girls and women, more than 100 in all, were forced to carry the looted goods to the Red House, which Japanese troops were using as a garrison.
"We thought it was the end of our world," says Mileng. "We thought they were going to kill us," adds Lita. But the soldiers were in high spirits. They took off their uniforms, ate and had a smoke. Then, as the light faded, they began to rape the women and girls. "It was so painful," says Mileng. Inside the skeleton of the house, Lita points out where the stairway used to be. That's where they raped her. "I was really struggling because I didn't want my clothes to be stripped off. I kept my legs together, tightly crossed. After I did that, they punched my thighs so that they could do what they wanted." The following morning they were allowed to leave. Their village - including Lita and Mileng's home - had been burned down and survivors were taken along the river to a nearby town. In the chaos and confusion, it took the sisters nearly three days to find each other. They had become part of one of the largest operations of sexual violence in modern history. It's widely thought that about 200,000 women were held in captivity and many thousands more were raped. Most were in Korea and China, but what's less well known is that the operation extended across the Japanese empire, as far afield as Burma, New Guinea, and the Philippines. "This was not something done on the spur of the moment - this was planned," says historian Ricardo Jose of the University of the Philippines. In the 1930s, it was discovered that Japanese troops in China would go on "raping sprees". Recognising the threat of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, the Japanese Imperial Army devised a system to regulate sexual activity through the use of full-time slaves, who they called "comfort women". Estellita - a frail and softly spoken 86-year-old great-grandmother - grew up on a prosperous sugar plantation in the central Philippines. She wanted to be a teacher. One day, while selling food in the market, she was captured by a Japanese soldier and bundled into a truck. She was taken to a garrison where she was repeatedly raped. Estellita kept silent about what she endured for more than 50 years. "I don't remember how many men came in. At one point I felt a sudden pain so I fought back. The soldier got angry. He held my head and banged it really hard into the table and I lost consciousness." Estellita was only 14. She spent almost three weeks in Japanese captivity. Her account is factual rather than expressive. Seven decades on, she still doesn't want to show her pain. She has tried to forget the screams, the crying, the face of the armed guard who stood outside her door. "It was living hell for the 'comfort women'," says Jose. "They simply had to stay in bed. They had to wait for the next customer, they had to submit. And this went on for hours, this went on for days, this went on for months. And they could not do anything." The fragments of historical records that survived the war offer a chilling glimpse of the women's lives. On fortnightly visits to one garrison in the city of Iloilo, Imperial Army doctors meticulously recorded the names, ages and sexual health of their captives: "21…16… 17… vaginal inflammation… vaginal erosion."
"At their most extreme, the acts of violence would involve not just rape, but using almost anything to penetrate the woman - bottles, sticks, blunt objects," says Jose. "And of course it created scars for life. Sometimes the women were left for dead." Estellita's captivity ended as suddenly as it began. She was awoken one morning by American soldiers. The Japanese had fled. She walked out of the garrison and home to her parents. She briefly went back to school, trying to keep busy. But ultimately the burden of shame and the fear of friends and neighbours discovering what she had been through became too much. She left school, giving up her ambitions of becoming a teacher, for a new life in poverty and anonymity in Manila. Estellita began a half a century of silence - she didn't even share her story with her husband or children. Lisa remembers the moment her mother broke her silence and revealed she had been a 'comfort woman'. But when she started meeting up with other survivors and campaigning on behalf of the "comfort women", her daughter Lisa began to ask questions. "I kept wondering why she wasn't around," says Lisa. "So I asked her." Estellita was terrified of how her daughter would react. "I had to explain that I didn't want it to happen to me," she says, conscious that other women in her position had been abandoned by their families when they found out. Lisa was deeply moved by her mother's story. Now, she's joined her in the campaign for justice. In 1993, after women in South Korea, the Philippines and other places started speaking out, the Japanese government offered "sincere apologies and remorse to all those, irrespective of place of origin, who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women". At the time, it helped set up a fund to provide aid and support to victims but didn't offer full state-funded compensation. Japan has subsequently reiterated its sincere remorse and apologies towards the women. But for many of the women these apologies were too vague and the financial offer inadequate.

The pirate queen of County Mayo
20 June 2016
The amazing tale of Grace O'Malley, sailor, captain, plunderer, mercenary, rebel, pirate – as well as wife and mother.. Sitting in a Dublin pub nursing a pint of Guinness, I got talking to a fella, who told me what seemed to be an amazing and improbable story. It was about a woman from County Mayo, who was a pirate and a scourge of Ireland's west coast, in the way, that Black Beard had been the scourge of the Spanish Main. The time was 16th-century Ireland, when education was rare and women spent most of their life rearing children and looking after household affairs. But that was not the life of Grace O'Malley, sailor, captain, plunderer, mercenary, rebel, pirate – as well as wife and mother.
A picture gradually emerged of her charismatic personality, her wild life and disregard for social mores. A little research quickly showed, that this was not just Guinness-fuelled pub ramblings, but a fascinating story, that belies everything we generally take for granted about the Elizabethan era, when women rarely had a life beyond their home. I wanted to see where O'Malley lived, and hear more stories about her exploits. I was soon trundling west from Dublin on a slow train across lush and rich pasture. Ninety minutes into the journey we rattled across the river Shannon at the town of Athlone, Ireland’s geographical heart, into the province of Connaught. The landscape changed from fertile fields to wild and bleak – yet beautiful – peat bogs. Clew Bay is scattered with hundreds of drowned drumlins. Another 90 minutes later, I arrived in the County Mayo town of Westport, staring down at the stunningly beautiful Clew Bay and the Atlantic beyond. The bay is scattered with hundreds of drowned drumlins (small low lying islands that are made of glacial debris left from the last Ice Age). The most famous of the mostly uninhabited islands is Dorninish, bought by John Lennon as a hideaway at the height of Beatlemania. My B&B was a few steps from Matt Molloy’s, the famous pub owned by the world-renowned musician with the Chieftains. In here, all the locals knew stories about Grace O'Malley, or Granuaile (pronounced Gran ya Wale) in Gaelic. The land around Clew Bay was once controlled by the powerful O'Malley family; and although Westport did not exist back then, she was born on Clare Island, a few miles west at the mouth of the bay, and her legend lives on in the area. Grace O'Malley was born in this tower house on Clare Island. The tales came thick and fast. I was told that she was the leader of 200 fighting men on a small fleet of ships and would fight alongside them. Others said she would waylay passing merchant ships and demand a tax for safe passage – if they did not pay she plundered them. I was eager to know more, and someone gave me the number of a sailor named Aaron O'Grady, who was also born on Clare Island and is something of a local expert on O’Malley. “He's your man,” was the general consensus. O'Grady runs fishing and diving charters in Ireland's western waters and was setting off down the coast to Kerry the next morning, calling in at his home on Clare Island on the way. I arranged to meet him at the quay at dawn. It was a blustery, wet morning, but as we set sail, the wind dropped, the rain eased and the sun eventually appeared as we cautiously manoeuvred around the multitude of small islands and sand bars. Aaron O'Grady's 54ft yacht, The Explorer. "It's dangerous sailing for the unwary", O'Grady said, as the 54ft yacht The Explorer yawed 40 degrees. "That's why the bay was a safe haven for Grace; she was born in that tower house we're approaching and grew up on these waters." Pointing north across the bay, he added, "If you weave your way between a dozen drumlins and avoid the sandbars and rip tides, you'll come to Carrickahowley Castle, a grand hideaway, that her enemies found hard to reach. She was an elusive character and had other castle hideaways on Achill Island and Lake Corrib near Galway. The O’Malley family were hereditary lords of the Mayo coast, and more than 500 years on, the tower house where she was born is still the tallest building on Clare Island. The gate to the historic monument was swinging wide open when I arrived, so I strolled in to what seemed a bleak home – but was probably considered luxurious when O'Malley was born in 1530. The upper floors have collapsed, leaving the house a hollow shell. There was a haunting presence in its ancient fabric. A currach in Clew Bay. As a child, O'Malley probably learned to handle a currach (a slim hide-covered rowing boat), which children were still learning to row in Clew Bay. I’d been told, that she was always wayward: as a young girl, having been refused permission to join her father on a sailing expedition, she cut off her hair, dressed as a boy and snuck on board his ship.  O'Malley married local chieftain Donal O'Flaherty at 15 and bore three children. After her husband’s early death, she took many of his followers (he had ships and sailors for trading up and down the west coast) and returned to her ancestral home on Clare Island. Here she began sailing the seas, trading fish, fur and hides, and robbing the English when trade was slow. Nearby Galway was a major trading city and ships from England and Scotland had to pass Clew Bay en route. It was from this that the legend of Granuaile: Pirate Queen of Connacht began. The 12th-century Cistercian Abbey where O’Malley was buried in 1603. I strolled west across the modest 15-sq-mile island made of hills, bogs and patches of woodland, heading for the 12th-century Cistercian Abbey where O’Malley was buried in 1603. The Abbey was much larger in its heyday, but the single remaining building is the size of an ordinary village church. Inside was an elaborate O’Malley crest depicting the family’s hunting, sailing and fighting prowess, but O'Malley’s burial chamber was nowhere to be seen. Legend has it, that she may be buried in a vault behind the large family crest, but no one knows for sure. The building had the ambience of a medieval barn – rough stone, huge beams and gravel floor – but contained some remarkable, although badly damaged, wall and ceiling frescos. The frescos would once have covered the entire ceiling in a kaleidoscope of colourful human and animal figures, including dragons, cockerels, stags, a harper, birds and trees. The faded images seemed distant, like peering through a veil into the past. Back on the mainland, I made my way to Carrickahowley Castle at Rockfleet, an inlet on the north side of Clew Bay, which O’Grady had pointed out to me. After marrying, her second husband, Richard Bourke in 1566, this became O'Malley’s main home, and its big attraction was its inaccessibility and stout defences. Stories say, that after just one year of marriage she evoked an ancient Celtic law by putting her husband’s property outside and greeting him on his return home by shouting from the ramparts, "Richard Bourke I dismiss you!" They later reconciled and remained together until his death 17 years later. A view of Carrickahowley Castle. When Bourke died in 1583, O'Malley’s clashes with the English intensified, and her son Tibbot was captured. That September, she sailed to England, up the River Thames to Greenwich Palace, and met Queen Elizabeth I, where she negotiated Tibbot's release and her own pardon by agreeing to fight the Queen's enemies. In the 1603 battle of Kinsale, Tibbot and other Mayo chiefs fought with the Queen of England's forces, helping to defeat the Spanish and their Irish rebel allies. This was probably one of the reasons O'Malley was disowned by Irish historians; the other was her unladylike behaviour of flouting every conceivable law, tradition and social custom of the times. Since O'Malley was written out of official Irish history, very little written information exists. Irish historians were usually religious monks, and being a woman, she was ignored. But there’s always an alternative history to accepted traditional texts, and stories and legends about her exploits are widespread in Mayo.

Nadia Hussain: Pakistan's first supermodel - video
14 June 2016
Nadia Hussain is one of Pakistan's first supermodels. She is also an actress, a successful businesswoman, a mother to four children and a practising dentist. She says the fashion industry is thriving in the traditionally conservative country as more young women enter the industry every year.

Why one woman carried out her own abortion
12 June 2016
More than 100,000 women in Texas, US, have induced their own abortions, according to a recent study. The US Supreme Court is to hear a case regarding abortion law in Texas. It is to decide on whether a 2013 ruling stating that abortion clinics meet certain requirements is constitutional. Dozens of clinics have closed as a result of the ruling, and researchers say self-induced abortions may increase if clinics continue to close. Women typically use a pill called misoprostol to induce their own abortions. Here, one young woman explains why she crossed the border into Mexico, where the drug is cheaper and easier to obtain without a prescription.

A modern-day slave in Australia's suburbs

9 June 2016
Screen grab shows woman who was held as a slave in Australia. "Susan" says her employers came to control every aspect of her life. The Global Slavery Index says there could be thousands of people in Australia living in conditions amounting to slavery, but that despite a tightening of laws, prosecutions are rare. The BBC's Phil Mercer spoke to one woman about her experiences. Susan's (not her real name) story began when the family who employed her as a housekeeper moved back to Sydney from east Africa. She knew the family well and trusted them. They had always been kind and generous, so it was with great anticipation that the mother-of-three travelled with them. Crucially, there was the promise of wages that would help support her children back home. It was hot and humid when she arrived, and at the end of an exhausting day there was an ominous sign of what lay ahead when she says she was forced to sleep under a dining room table with the family's dogs."For me that was inhuman, because for them to have put me under the table that was the most disrespectful thing they ever done to my life," she says. But in those early days she wasn't fully aware of the grip the family was gradually exerting on all parts of her life.
'Suburban prison'
"At first I didn't realise that I had been trafficked," she told the BBC at the headquarters of the Salvation Army, the charity that has helped her to slowly repair the damage. Susan said she was held captive in an ordinary-looking home. It was her suburban prison. "I wanted to go out and water the plants outside and they were out that day and I tried to open the door. It is locked. The next day the same thing happened," she explained. There was further indignity to come when she pressed her employer for the money she was owed for many long hours of labour. "She starts telling me, 'You are living in our house, you are having shower in our house, you are eating our food, so there is no pay'," Susan said. Her two-month ordeal finally came to an end with a late-night dash to freedom after a confrontation with the family who had allegedly confiscated her passport. Escaping through an unlocked gate, Susan says she ran to a nearby house and pleaded for help.
"Immediately I press the bell for the neighbour. It was midnight. So I pressed the bell quick, quick, because I knew somebody has seen me through the window. Then the neighbour came out and she said, 'What is it? Can I help?' I told her to call the police." When officers arrived, it was the start of another uncertain chapter in a remarkable story. 'Too scared'. She was eventually taken to Australia's first safe house for trafficking victims run by the Salvation Army, which says there are many more people like Susan. "The Global Slavery Index estimates about 3,000 people could be experiencing slavery in Australia," said Laura Vidal, a project manager at the Freedom Partnership To End Modern Slavery run by the Salvation Army. "It degrades every element of being a human being. People are reduced to property. It really is people having their vulnerability exploited." Proving allegations of slavery is hard and many victims are too scared to speak out. There have been only 17 successful prosecutions for slavery and related offences in Australia since 2004, and most involved women exploited in the sex industry. New laws covering forced labour and forced marriage were brought in three years ago to help victims in various sectors, including hospitality, agriculture, construction and domestic work. Jennifer Burn, the director of Anti-Slavery Australia, says slavery occurs in other industries besides the sex trade. "The longer that I have worked in the area, the more I appreciate that the effects of these kinds of human rights abuses are long-term and devastating," said Jennifer Burn, the director of Anti-Slavery Australia and professor of law at the University of Technology Sydney.
"The pattern of slavery and forced labour is clearly changing, and if we look at the statistics provided by the federal police we'll see that there is a shift over the last couple of years and now there are more cases of forced labour outside the sex industry that are being investigated." Australia set up an anti-human-trafficking strategy in 2003. Specialist federal police teams investigate slavery-related cases and there are support programmes and resettlement visas for victims. Officials say Australia has been a destination for people trafficked from Asia, most notably from South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia. Following her ordeal, Susan was granted refugee status and now lives in Sydney, although it took several years to be reunited with her children. "It was like a resurrected kind of life to have…my kids back again," she said. "I remember my son shed tears in the airport and that one broke my heart because I left him when he was little and now he's grown. And my daughter, I left her when she was young and now she's (a) teenager." Her alleged abusers were never charged. Very few are. Australian authorities say slavery is a complex crime and a major violation of human rights. Campaigners believe that forced labour legislation introduced in 2013, which broadened the scope for investigations into slavery-type offences, should result in more criminal convictions.

Domestic abuse: Violence amid a life of luxury

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9 June 2016
Domestic violence survivor and corporate consultant is a survivor of domestic violence. A new shelter aims to provide a safe haven for women who are targets of domestic abuse in some of Sydney's most affluent areas, writes Ashley Donnelly. When Lisa McAdams began her decade-long relationship with the man who abused her, she had a successful career and enough savings for a home deposit. She walked away a single parent, carrying debts that took a decade to reconcile.
"I was lucky he hit me", Ms McAdams confesses bluntly. There's a bitter irony behind this statement. The physical assaults provided clear evidence of the abuse she was suffering. The mental and economic attacks were savage, but covert and subtle. "The poverty pushes you into leaving, and then it is singularly the hardest bit to climb out of," she says. Surviving on welfare was a far cry from the seemingly charmed life she had led, waving to celebrity neighbours as she spun the wheel of a luxury car through the gates of a lavish compound. But amid the trappings of security, she was anything but safe. It was not until a close friend, who also suffered spousal abuse, died of cancer that she knew life was too short to stay ensnared by violence. Property on Sydney Harbour. Some women in Sydney's exclusive waterfront suburbs find they are unable to escape their violent partners. With two small children in tow and less than A$40 (£21; $30) in her bank account, Ms McAdams wound up at the Delvena shelter in Lane Cove, which currently services the North Sydney area. With a lock on the door, it was the safest she had felt in years. In February, a contact connected Ms McAdams to Mary's House in North Sydney and she soon became their spokesperson. Now she is speaking about her painful past to raise awareness of the refuge, which will open in September. The property was being used as a storage space by the Jesuits before it was donated to the Catholic Church and converted into the 19-bed non-denominational shelter. It's being praised as a lifesaving local solution to a national problem. Experts say abuse in prosperous communities is underreported due to the potent mix of money, power, and social stigma. Photograph of the Sydney Opera House taken under the Harbour Bridge. Under the bridge: Views from North Sydney take in the world famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge. It's this secret side of abuse, referred to as "golden handcuffs", that Lisa McAdams knows too well. When her partner surprised her with an extravagant holiday to Paris she was the envy of friends. Omitted from the pair's splendid postcards was the beating he gave her with a heavy object, first extended as a gift. When Lisa was asked about her trip to "the city of love" she responded begrudgingly. Her partner's overt largesse masked the menace he showed behind closed doors. It contradicted possible whispers among their social circle that he could ever be unkind.
"This evidence [perpetrators] are giving everyone you know is that you are ungrateful," she says. "Who could complain about an all-expenses-paid trip to Paris?"
Despite her prowess in the corporate finance world - where she earned a similar income to her ex-partner before giving birth - Lisa was powerless over the family budget.
At the office she would sign off on million-dollar accounts but at home she'd tremble at the sight of a standard electricity bill. "I would make suggestions like 'maybe we should pay off our debts' instead of making a big purchase," adding that he would hit her if she got too "gobby. There was also this perception that I was so lucky because he did the food shopping, but in actual fact it was another way in which he could control the money," she says. Deputy CEO of support service Wire, Julie Kun, says financial abuse is always about power and control. Australian businesses are beginning to count the cost of domestic violence. A common story she hears is of partners who cannot drive carrying car loans when their abuser is the sole user of the vehicle. "[It's] using money to control the behaviour of a person and making them do something that they don't want to do," Ms Kun said.
"They leave with less money than they started with, and often nothing at all." Australia's Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, tells the BBC that workplaces have been unaware of the pervasiveness of family violence until just recently. But with more women filling senior positions, businesses are beginning to count the cost of violence at home.
When their team leaders are forced to take time off to rearrange their lives and productivity slips, it impacts the bottom line. Lisa McAdams's latest company gives advice to large corporations - including one of the world's biggest audit firms, Ernst & Young (EY) - on how to best manage staff who are dealing with the debilitating side-effects of domestic violence. "Women are no longer just the typing pool, they are becoming more valuable in the workplace and harder to replace," she says.

Burned to death 'for refusing marriage' - video
1 June 2016
Police in Pakistan are investigating the death of a young woman whose family say she was murdered after rejecting a marriage proposal.

'Mass rape' video on social media shocks Brazil

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27 May 2016
One of Rio's favelas. The attack happened in a poor community in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian police are hunting more than 30 men suspected of raping a teenage girl in Rio de Janeiro, and of putting video of the attack on social media. The girl, 16, believes she was doped after going to her boyfriend's house on Saturday and says she woke up in a different house, surrounded by the men. Arrest warrants have been issued, including one for the boyfriend. The assault has provoked an online campaign against what campaigners call a culture of rape in Brazil. Conflicting versions of the story are still coming in, but the rape is said to have taken place in a poor community in western Rio over the weekend. According to a statement she is reported to have given to police, she woke up on Sunday, naked and wounded, and made her way home. Only days later did she find out that some of the alleged rapists had put images of the attack on Twitter.  A 40-second-video was widely shared and followed by a wave of misogynistic comments, before the users' accounts were suspended. In a message posted on Facebook, the victim said she was thankful for the support and added: "I really thought I was going to be badly judged." She later said: "All of us can go through this one day. It does not hurt the uterus but the soul because there are cruel people not being punished!! Thanks for the support."
'We all cried'
The girl's grandmother told Brazilian media the family watched the video and cried. "I regretted watching it. When we heard the story we didn't believe what was happening. It's a great affliction. It's a depressing situation," she told Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. Activists and supporters chant during a march for women's rights on International Women's Day on 8 March 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, BrazilImage copyright Getty Images Image caption Protesters in Rio, demanding reforms including better protection from male violence on International Women's Day in March. "She is not well. She is very confused. This was very serious." The attack has shocked Brazil, says the BBC's Julia Carneiro, and campaign groups have been already been calling for protests over the coming days. There has also been an outpouring of anger on social media, under the hashtag #EstuproNuncaMais (Rape never again). This tweet reads: "I don't want to live scared of being the next victim anymore, I don't want it" A collective of journalists posted a satirical image of citizens donning devil's horns, condemning a rape victim for having provoked the attack. The inscription reads "No to sexism", and the images, clockwise from top right: "But look at her clothes…", "She deserved it!", "16 years old and already has a son…", "Apparently she was on drugs". Tweet saying “No to sexism” – clockwise: “But look at her clothes…”, “She deserved it!”, “16 y/o and already has a son…”, “Apparently she was on drugs”. The United Nations group UN Women issued a statement calling for authorities to investigate the case, but to respect the victim and not victimise her once more by invading her privacy. Experts say many cases of rape in Brazil go unreported as victims fear retaliation, shame, and blame for the violence they have suffered.
Rape in Brazil
47,636 rapes were reported to the police in 2014
It is estimated only 35% of rape cases are reported
Rape of an adult is punishable by a prison sentence of between 6-10 years
Sentence for rape of a minor is 8-12 years in prison
Source: Brazilian Forum for Public Security
Brazilian media has come under sharp criticism for their slow reaction to the incident, which was picked up only after news of the video had circulated on social networks.
Beyond that, the shocking incident has sparked an online debate on the "normalisation" of rape in Brazil, and a tendency to blame victims for their suffering, with the hashtag #EstuproNaoECulpaDaVitima (Rape is Not the Victim's Fault) trending prominently. The debate largely stems from initial comments on the video, which included "she was drunk" and "she was wearing a short skirt". The media have also been accused of victim-blaming. One of the first articles on the story by media giant O Globo gave prominence to the girl's background and the fact that she was known to be a drug-user. Brazilian-Mexican actress Giselle Itie was one of thousands to speak out about victim-blaming: "The blame is on the media, who sexualize women in all their products," she said. "The blame is on the newspaper that makes light of the many rapes that happen…Drunk, drugged, wearing a short skirt, naked, it doesn't matter. It is never the victim's fault."

Taiwan, the place to be a woman in politics

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19 May 2016
Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party chair Tsai Ing-wen will become the island's first female leader. Tsai Ing-wen will on Friday become Taiwan's first female president. It has never been a burning ambition of the cat-loving former law professor to be president, and she is virtually unique among East Asia's female leaders. Unlike South Korea's President Park Geun-hye and the Philippines' former President Corazon Aquino, Thailand's former PM Yingluck Shinawatra, she does not follow a father, brother or husband who was in a position of power. That is not unusual in Taiwan. DPP chair Tsai-Ing wen says in a post that she is "happiest" when she has time to play with her cats, Cookie and A-Tsai. Many of Taiwan's female politicians, including former Vice President Annette Lu, Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chu, and chair of the Kuomintang party Hung Hsiu-chu, rose to powerful positions without having come from a political family. They have largely made it on their own. Women also shine in Taiwan's parliament. The island's women legislators are even seen leading the charge in Taiwan's infamous parliament scuffles. Following January elections, it now has a record percentage of women legislators at 38%, putting Taiwan far ahead of Asian countries, the international average of 22%, and most nations, including the UK, Germany, and the US. So why are only four of Ms Tsai's 40 Cabinet members women?
The Cabinet spokesman blamed it on a dearth of experienced women in her party because it has been out of power for so many years and on the fact that women were elected to other posts. But he did admit that some women had turned down the offer of a job at the top table. Chair of the Kuomintang party Hung Hsiu-chu.Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Former presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu rose to the position of Kuomintang party chairman without having come from a political family. One of them, 65-year-old Ho Mei-yueh, a former economics minister, told me she had devoted 33 years of her life to government, putting her own needs second while also raising a family. She just wants some time to herself now. It's the perennial question of a work-life balance for many women. "I had to work and look after the kids. The only person I could neglect was myself," said Ms. Ho. "Would a man my age turn down the offer? Men, when they are young, they don't have to give so much of themselves, because the burden of taking care of the children does not fall on them. To many men, their job is their life." Still, it is so natural in Taiwan to see women in politics that little fuss has been made about Ms Tsai's gender. A scuffle breaks out between legislators in Taiwan's parliament in 2013.Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A scuffle breaks out between legislators in Taiwan's parliament in 2013. But take a closer look and it's clear that quotas are behind the relatively high percentages of Taiwanese women in politics. They stipulate that women must get half the "at-large" seats in the legislature and one out of every four seats in electoral districts in local council elections. "It's in the Constitution that there should be special positions for women. Only Scandinavian countries have adopted similar policies. It's certainly unique in Asia and other parts of the world," said Joyce Gelb, a New York-based professor, who has studied Taiwanese women's participation in politics. Cabinet members at a press conference in Taipei in 2013.  Cabinet members attend a press conference in Taipei in 2013.What has also helped was a commitment to women's representation even in the early decades of the Republic of China's existence, a history of women's activism, as well as a society with many highly educated and professional women able to take up positions of leadership, scholars say. Over the years, the number of women legislators has far exceeded the quota, leading some to argue it's no longer needed. Chen Ting-fei is a lawmaker from the Democratic Progressive Party. But Ms Tsai's inability to put more women in her cabinet shows quotas are still useful to balance the scale. In elections without quotas such as for city mayors or county magistrates the percentage of women elected is only around 15%. Far fewer women run in elections compared to men. "When it's a one-to-one race, men still tend to fare better because of their prior experience and personal connections..We still do not sufficiently nurture women to go into politics and government," said Chen Man-li, the director of an alliance of women's groups and newly-elected lawmaker. Tsai Ing-wen with party members during a press conference in Taipei.Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Only four of Tsai Ing-wen's 40 Cabinet members are women. Photo of former Taiwanese Economy Minister Ho Mei-yuehImage copyright Getty Images Image caption Former Economy Minister Ho Mei-yueh says she had put aside her own needs while raising her family in her 33 years working in government. Women's groups say there is no doubt having women politicians makes a difference; it's easier to pass laws favourable to women, including on maternity leave and childcare. Nathan Batto, a Taipei-based Academia Sinica scholar who has studied women's participation in politics, says that with quotas political parties pay more attention to grooming female politicians. But still the greater challenge is changing society's views to make it easier for women to enter and crucially to stay in politics and that goes back to work-life balance. A boy and his mother read a book in the Taipei public library in Taipei on November 18, 2012. Women have to have the support of their spouse and family before entering a career in politics, according to a Taipei scholar.
"Women have a lot of obstacles in their way that men don't in developing their political careers," said Mr. Batto. "They have to have their family and spouse's support. The approval of your spouse is usually more automatic for men than women." Taiwan is leagues ahead of other places, but it's worth noting that none of the top four female political figures in Taiwan are married or have children.

Searching for the next ballet star in Soweto , South Africa

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25 May 2016
The BBC's Nomsa Maseko has been filming a report on ballet classes being given to young children in the Soweto suburb of South Africa's main city, Johannesburg. It's part of a wider attempt to boost the number of black dancers on the global ballet scene by training teachers. The children are being taught in the Cuban style of ballet.

Video - South African ballerina Kitty Phetla describes how her mum reacts when she watches her perform with the Joburg Ballet. This is classical ballet you can't just ululate!
11 June 2015

South Africa: government 11 luxury cars purchased 'to protect president Zuma's wives'

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25 May 2016
South Africa's government has spent more than $500,000 over the last three years on supplying vehicles to protect the four wives of President Jacob Zuma, it says. In a written response to a parliamentary question from an opposition MP,  Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko listed the 11 cars that were bought since 2013. They include four Range Rovers and two Land Rovers. Party leader Julius Malema and members of his Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) clashed with parliamentary security as they were evicted from the chamber in Cape Town, South Africa, after they had refused to let President Zuma speak and shouted down the Speaker, Baleka Mbete. 

African tribes cultures, rituals and ceremonies -  May 11, 2016

В Индии женщина-депутат провалилась под землю во время интервью

video - BJP MP Poonam Madam Falls Into Open Drain, Now In Hospital -

May 16, 2016. Jamnagar's BJP MP Poonam Madam fell into a 10 feet deep drain today as she went to listen to the grievances of the people and to supervise a demolition drive.
В индийском городе Джамнагар депутат регионального парламента провалилась в канализацию прямо во время уличного интервью. Под ногами у народной избранницы обрушились бетонные плиты. Депутат Пунамбен Маадам (Poonamben Maadam) провалилась в яму глубиной около трех метров, а сверху на нее приземлились куски бетона. Женщине потребовалась госпитализация: ее отвезли в ближайшую больницу, а затем переправили в Мумбаи. К счастью, жизнь парламентария уже вне опасности. По данным местных СМИ, Пунамбен Маадам повредила ногу. Сообщается также, что в результате провала грунта пострадали еще две женщины. Они также находятся в больнице.

The Irish women who fought to legalise contraception.
11 May 2016
In May 1971, a group of Irish women challenged the ban on contraception in Ireland.

Gogi, the heroine created by Pakistan's first female cartoonist - fpNazarCaricaturePakistan.jpg
26 April 2016
 Comic strip showing Gogi speaking with an immigration officer. He asks her: "Where are you from?" She replies "Pakistan". He asks: "Which part?" and she replies: "All of me". Gogi, with her signature polka dot outfits, is beloved by many in Pakistan. Pakistan's first female professional cartoonist, Nigar Nazar, nearly ended up becoming a doctor. "In college I was studying to become a doctor, but I was constantly doodling in the margins of my medical books," she says. "Shortly afterwards I decided to take a U-turn and managed to persuade my parents to let me take fine arts." The decision paid off. The star of Nazar's comics, Gogi, is a progressive, educated Pakistani woman who wears polka-dotted dresses - and is loved by thousands around the world. One of her favourite cartoons explores how many in Pakistan prefer having sons to daughters. Comic showing Gogi chatting with a Pakistani woman, Nadia, in the street. Nadia says:
"In our country a girl's birth isn't celebrated very much and I really hate that," Nazar says. She focuses on social issues and contradictions in society, saying: "I get inspiration from things that happen around me." Comic showing Gogi on a motorcycle, speaking to a woman driving a van beside her which is emitting lots of fumes. The Gogi comics have messages about women's education and the environment - but also depict the humorous side of everyday life in Pakistan.

Самые знаменитые пьесы Шекспира написала женщина?
Уильям Шекспир умер 400 лет назад, но слухи о его жизни и творчестве не утихают до сих пор. Так, один из ведущих специалистов по творчеству английского драматурга Джон Хадсон заявил, что самые знаменитые пьесы Шекспира написала женщина. Более того, в новой книге Хадсона "Темная леди Шекспира" (Shakespeare's Dark Lady) говорится, что за именем Уильяма Шекспира скрывалась "черноволосая иудейка Амелия Бассано". По информации исследователя, Бассано родилась в 1569 году в семье венецианских евреев, которые перебрались в Лондон и стали музыкантами при дворе королевы Елизаветы I, пишет Daily Mail. В юности Амелия была любовницей лорда Генри Кэри, первого барона Хансдона, который занимался театром. Также, по данным Хадсона, у Амелии был роман с поэтом и драматургом Кристофером Марло, от которого она забеременела. Впрочем, как выяснил эксперт, отношения с известными людьми пользы "темной леди" не принесли: она умерла в бедности в 1645 году. Почему же Хадсон полагает, что именно эта женщина написала пьесы, автором которых признан Шекспир? Об известном английском драматурге известно, что он родился и всю жизнь жил в Лондоне, тогда как многие сюжеты его произведений разворачиваются за границей, в частности, в Италии. И автор, кем бы он ни был, демонстрирует хорошие знания о тогдашней жизни в этой стране. Также ученый считает неслучайным тот факт, что в пьесе "Отелло" появляется героиня по имени Эмилия (Амелия?), а в "Венецианском купце" главный герой носит фамилию Бассанио (Бассано). Впрочем, в научных кругах к теории Хадсона относятся скептически.

Амазонки Севера
Предания об амазонках распространены по всему миру. Естественно, в разных странах они именуются по-разному. Но дошедшие до нас и, к счастью, записанные сказания - несомненный отголосок древнейшей эпохи, когда миром правили женщины.
В 1741 году аббат Гюйон выпустил в свет в Брюсселе "Историю древних и современных амазонок", полную весьма любопытных сведений. Но тем, кто интересуется вопросом об амазонках, следует прежде всего обратиться к легендам об амазонках, представленных в греческой мифологии.
Многие из нас, даже из курса истории средней школы, знают, что убеждение в существовании амазонок было распространено в Греции в самой отдаленной древности. Непобедимый Одиссей "встречался" с ними в одноименном произведении Гомера; отзвуки его можно найти в "Иллиаде" - в эпизоде, рассказывающем о любви между Ахиллом и царицей амазонок.
Собственно, для многих из нас знакомство с амазонками на этом и заканчивается. Однак, все оказывается гораздо более интересным. Все древнегреческие легенды упоминают о воинственном народе женщин - "мужененавистниц" (другое толкование слова амазонки - "равные мужчинам").
Древнейший в греческой литературе рассказ об амазонках принадлежит историку Геродоту (5 век до н.э.). Он упоминает, в частности, что "относительно браков соблюдается у амазонок следующее правило: ни одна девушка не выходит замуж прежде чем не убьет хотя бы одного врага; некоторые доживают до старости девушками, потому что не могли выполнить это требование".
В свою очередь, знаменитый древнегреческий медик Гиппократ (V век до н.э.) рассказывает об амазонках еще более удивительные истории: "Правой груди они не имеют, так как еще в младенчестве матери накладывают на эту грудь специально для этого сделанный медный инструмент в накаленном состоянии и прижигают, чтобы прекратить рост груди и чтобы вся сила перешла к правому плечу и правой руке".
Можно не доверять тому, что сообщают древний историки. Но современные археологи во время раскопок в местах, где, по данным Геродота, обитали савроматы, находят женские погребения, в которых, как и в мужских, находится оружие.
В главе 53-й своей "Исторической библиотеки" великий историк античности Диодор Сицилийский (I век до н.э.) рассказывает нам даже о том, как царица амазонок Мирина, собрав из женщин-воительниц сильную армию, смогла с ее помощью завоевать легендарную Атлантиду!
Как это ни парадоксально, стойкое убеждение в существовании народа женщин постоянно имело место в стародавние времена, охватывая все древние культуры. Чем глубже проникаем мы в события той отдаленной эпохи, тем к более удивительным выводам мы приходим: амазонки существовали не только в Греции, но и в Европе и даже на Русском Севере! Более того, во множестве европейских стран не найти фольклора, в котором не упоминалось бы о далеких временах, когда женщины играли доминирующую роль в магии и в религии.
Считалось, что они владели искусством иллюзии, умели вызывать бури, покрывать землю туманом, чтобы внести замешательство в ряды войск противника или укрыть себя от глаз неприятеля.
Они владели искусством преобразования тела. Они умели видеть на большом расстоянии. Они умели пророчествовать. Нет ничего необычного в том, что эту роль могла исполнять женщина. Ведь женщина превосходит мужчину во многих областях: она дольше сопротивляется усталости, физическим страданиям, болезням, старению, не говоря уже о том, что благодаря своей психической конституции она более искушена в вопросах магии.
Первое в европейской литературе упоминание об амазонках Европы принадлежит историку короля Карла Великого Павлу Диякону (ок. 720 - ок. 799). Рассказывая о Германии, он сообщает, что "и по сегодняшний день в глубинах Германии еще существует народ этих женщин". Если учесть, что эти строки были написаны в конце VIII века н.э., то приходится признать, что эти удивительные создания жили и в христианскую эпоху.
Другой областью местопребывания амазонок в Европе оказывается древняя Чехия, о чем повествует в начале ХII столетия старейший чешский историк Козьма Пражский: "В ту пору, - рассказывает Козьма, - чешские девушки росли на свободе, владели оружием и выбирали своих предводительниц. Не их мужчины, а сами они когда и кого хотели брали себе в мужья.
Смелость женщин дошла до того, что они соорудили недалеко от города Праги на скале неприступную крепость, которую назвали Девин". Другой историк добавляет даже, что "амазонки древней Чехии, чтобы обезопасить себя от захвата власти со стороны мужчин, выжигали мальчикам правый глаз и отрезали им большой палец на правой руке".
Дальше еще интереснее. По широко распространенному представлению, местопребывание европейских амазонок обозначается на севере Европы, в частности, в районе Балтийского моря. Первым автором, сообщившим об этих северных, или балтийских, амазонках был арабский путешественник и автор путевых заметок еврейского происхождения Ибрахим ибн Якуб.
Его путевые заметки о славянских странах, датируемые 965 годом, указывает, что "в соседстве с руссами находится город женщин. Они владеют землями и рабами. Они беременеют от своих рабов и когда кто-либо из них родит сына, то убивает его. Они ездят верхом и сами ходят на войну, отличаясь смелостью и храбростью".
Знаменитый арабский географ и путешественник первой половины ХII столетия Аль- Идриси рассказывает, что в Северном океане существуют два острова, называемых "островами амазонок", а северогерманский хронист, историк и географ Адам Бременский ( после 1081), описывая европейский север, указывает: "Около восточного берега Балтийского моря обитают амазонки, почему и земли эти называют "землей женщин". Они избегают общения с мужчинами; если те являются, то они храбро их прогоняют".
Старинная хроника Норвегии также повествует о диких, туманных берегах Белого моря, где находилась "земля девушек". Ей вторит и одна из старинных русских книг, так называемый Азбуквин. В частности, так можно прочитать следующее: "Амазонки есть в Мурских странах". Исследователи данного текста предполагают, что "мурские страны" здесь означает "мурманские страны", то есть земли, и речь идет о Кольском полуострове.
Приведенные выше сообщения о северных амазонках не остались незамеченными историками и неоднократно комментировались в исторической литературе. При этом часто повторялась высказанная догадка, что все эти известия имеют своим источником старинные представления народов страны квенов - древнейшего населения нынешней Финляндии и сопредельных районов, в том числе и части территории современной Карелии.
Также историки ссылаются на "Историю Норвегии" - латиноязычную хронику, охватывающую историю норвежских конунгов (правителей) с древнейших времен до 1115 года. Автор хроники, к сожалению, неизвестен. Хроника сохранилась в единственной рукописи середины ХV столетия и стала доступна современному читателю, в том числе, благодаря изданной в Петрозаводске в 1990 году книге "Письменные известия о карелах", авторским коллективом которой являлись С. Кочкуркина, А. Спиридонов и Т. Джаксон.
Кроме "Истории Норвегии", в данном издании впервые приводится свод древнескандинавских письменных источников по истории Карелии. Особая ценность этих источников определяется тем, что в них имеется информация по истории карельского края до ХII столетия - времени, практически совершенно не освещенному в русских письменных памятниках.
"На северо-восток, - указывается в "Истории Норвегии", - простираются за Норвегию многочисленные племена, преданные язычеству, кирьялы (древние карелы) и квены, рогатые финны (в данном случае автор "Истории" подразумевал саамов) и те и другие бьярмоны (жители легендарной Бьармии). Но мы не знаем точно, какие племена обитают за этими.
Однако когда некие моряки стремились проплыть от Ледяного острова (современная Исландия) к Норвегии и встречными бурями были отброшены в зимнюю область, где приблизились между вириденами (гренландцами) и бьярмонами, где, как свидетельствуют, обретались люди удивительной величины и была "страна дев", поскольку Квенланд (племя квенов) переводится как "Страна дев".
Данные сведения перекликаются с рассказами норвежца Оттара, изложенными в "Орозии короля Альфреда" конца IХ столетия, - этот на триста лет более ранний источник также упоминает квенов, финнов (терфиннов) и бьярмов. Однако присутствие древних карелов в этом регионе впервые фиксируется именно "Историей Норвегией". Согласно контексту, кирьялов уже до 1170 года встречали где-то вблизи областей расселения квенов и финнов.
У соседствующих с карелами славян тоже есть свои народные сказания и былины об "амазонках", женщинах-воинах - поляницах. В былинах поляницы по своей удали и умению владеть оружием мало в чем уступают богатырям-мужчинам. А порой и превосходят их.
С такой воинственной дамой остерегались связываться и Алеша Попович, и Добрыня Никитич. Последний, правда, сумел жениться на одной из поляниц. Это была Настасья Микулишна - дочь богатыря-пахаря Микулы Селяниновича.
Русские летописи также сообщают о женщинах-воительницах, которые принимали участие в обороне осажденных татаро-монголами, крестоносцами, литовцами и поляками городов.
Причем участие их заключалось не только в том, что они лишь подносили стрелы или поливали врагов со стен кипятком и смолой, но и в конкретных сражениях - с оружием в руках.
Известно, что в 1641 году, во время известного "Азовского сидения", в сражениях с турками помимо воинов-мужчин участвовали и казачки-наездницы. Они прекрасно стреляли из лука и наносили туркам значительный урон. Впрочем, казачкам всерьез воевать было не привыкать...
Казалось бы, что удивительного в легендах об амазонках? А удивительно здесь то, что мужские поступки совершает женщина. Но, что еще более удивительно, - ее современникам эти поступки не казались чем-то из ряда вон выходящими. Дело в том, что мужественность была чертой, общей для людей того времени - и мужчин, и женщин. Это были века силы, отваги и славных дел.
Между прочим, о мужестве славянских женщин в языческую эпоху можно прочесть еще в византийских рукописях. Летописцы рассказывают, что во времена войны Святослава с греками, после одной жестокой битвы, когда греки стали раздевать убитых "скифов", то нашли немало женских трупов. Оказывается, эти женщины на равных сражались среди мужчин.
"Мужество и мудрость в том далеком от нас времени являлись не только положительными свойствами характера и ума, но и вещею силою, приближавшею человека к богам, - читаем в книге русского историка Ивана Забелина "Домашний быт русских цариц". - Вообще, языческий идеал присваивает женской личности существо мифическое. Она обладает даром гаданий, чарований, пророчества; она знает тайны естества и потому в ее руках хранится врачевание, колдовство, заговоры, заклинания. Она в близких связях с мифическими силами, в ее руках и добро, и зло этих сил".
С течением времени, исторические заметки о загадочных амазонках все более привлекают внимание специалистов. Возможно, изучение данного направления еще более обогатит наши представления о предыстории народов, населявших северные территории Европы, в том числе и народов, проживавших на территории современной Карелии.

Amazon of Dahomey - Амазонки из Дагомея

African Amazones of Ancient Dahomey
Из дочерей – в солдаты, от домашних хлопот – к оружию. Единственное задокументированное женское воинское подразделение в современной военной истории. Обитали эти женщины к югу от Сахары. Они сумели заставить своих колонизаторов дрожать от страха. Люди окрестили их дагомейскими амазонками, сами же они называли себя «N’Nonmiton», что буквально означает «наши матери». Они защищали своего короля в самых кровавых сражениях и считались элитным подразделением Королевства Дагомея, сегодня эти территории принадлежат Республике Бенин. Амазонки принимали присягу девственницами и считались неприкасаемыми. Их визитной карточкой было обезглавливание с быстротою молнии.
Эти воины отнюдь не мифические персонажи. Последняя дагомейская амазонка ушла из жизни в возрасте ста лет в 1979 году, эта женщина по имени Нави коротала свой век в далёкой деревушке. В лучшие времена амазонки составляли почти треть дагомейской армии, по европейским меркам в храбрости и эффективности в бою они превосходили мужчин.

История амазонок уходит своими корнями в XVII столетие. Есть предположения, что изначально амазонки были охотницами на слонов и очень впечатлили короля своей ловкостью в этом деле, пока их мужья сражались с вражескими племенами. Другая теория гласит, что женщины были единственными, кто допускался в королевский дворец после наступления темноты. Таким образом, совершенно естественно, что именно они стали телохранителями короля. Как бы то ни было, только самые сильные, здоровые и смелые женщины избирались для тщательной подготовки, которая превращала их в машины для убийства, наводящие ужас на всю Африку на протяжении более двух столетий. Их вооружали голландскими мушкетами и мачете и к началу XIX   века амазонки становятся всё более воинствующими и яростно преданными королю. Девочек, начиная с 8 лет, набирали в группы и выдавали им оружие. Некоторые женщины приходили в подразделение добровольно, других же отправляли туда мужья, жалуясь на их неуправляемость. Прежде всего их учили быть сильными, быстрыми, безжалостными и способными выдерживать нестерпимую боль. Упражнения, чем-то напоминавшие гимнастику, включали в себя прыжки через стены, увитые колючими побегами акации. Также женщин отправляли на так называемые «Голодные игры», они проводили по 10 дней в джунглях, имея при себе только мачете. После таких тренировок они становились фанатичными бойцами. Чтобы доказать, чего стоят, они должны были стать в два раза выносливее мужчин. Дагомейские амазонки стояли в бою до последнего, если от короля не поступал приказ отступать, и дрались не на жизнь, а на смерть, они никогда не сдавались. Этим женщинам было запрещено выходить замуж или иметь детей, пока они служили. Считалось, что они замужем за королём. Но при этом все они хранили обет целомудрия, приобретая практически полу  священный статус, как элитные воины. Даже король не решался нарушить их обет целомудрия, а если ты не король, то прикосновение к амазонке каралось смертью. Весной 1863 года в Дагомею прибыл британский исследователь Ричард Бартон с миссией Британского Правительства установить мир с народом Дагомеи. Дагомейцы были воинствующей нацией и принимали активное участие в работорговле, это играло им на руку, позволяя захватывать и продавать своих врагов. Дагомейские амазонки просто поразили Бартона. По его словам, их мускулатура  была так разработана, что узнать в них женщин можно было только по груди. Женщины-солдаты состояли в элитном крыле армии, как телохранители короля. Некоторые даже считают, что каждый мужчина в дагомейской армии имел своего женского «двойника». Бартон прозвал эту армию «Чёрная Спарта». Женщин учили навыкам выживания, дисциплины и беспощадности. Тренировки жестокости были ключевыми для попадания в солдаты короля. Церемония набора солдат включала в себя проверку, достаточно ли безжалостны потенциальные воины, чтобы сбросить пленного со смертельной высоты. Французская делегация, посещавшая Дагомею в 1880 году, наблюдала амазонку шестнадцати лет во время тренировки. В их записях говорится, что она трижды выбрасывала мачете, прежде, чем голова пленника была отрублена. Она отёрла кровь со своего оружия и проглотила её под одобрительные возгласы наблюдавших за ней амазонок. Для них было традицией приносить домой голову и гениталии врага. Несмотря на жестокие тренировки, женщины терпели. Для многих это было шансом избежать тяжёлого домашнего труда. Служение амазонками позволяло женщинам подниматься до уровня командиров, иметь власть и играть не последние роли в Большом Собрании, обсуждавшем политику королевства. Они даже могли разбогатеть и оставаться одинокими и независимыми. Жили они, конечно, при короле, но имели всё, что ни пожелают, даже табак и алкоголь. У них были слуги. Стэнли Альперн, автор единственного полного исследования жизни амазонок на английском языке, писал:
«Когда амазонки выходили из дворца, об этом оповещала рабыня с колокольчиком. Звон колокольчика давал понять мужчинам, что нужно уйти с дороги, отойти на некоторое расстояние и смотреть в другую сторону».
Даже после усиления колониальной экспансии Франции в Африке в 1890-ых,  дагомейские амазонки продолжали внушать страх. Солдат французской армии, затащивших кого-нибудь из амазонок в постель, часто находили по утрам с перерезанными глотками. Во времена франко-дагомейских войн многие французские солдаты колебались прежде, чем убить женщину. Такая недооценка врага приводила к множественным потерям во французской армии, подразделения амазонок целенаправленно атаковали французских офицеров. К концу второй франко-дагомейской войны французы всё-таки взяли верх, но только после прихода Иностранного Легиона, вооружённого автоматами. Последние силы короля были вынуждены капитулировать, почти все амазонки погибли в жестоких битвах этой войны.  Позже легионеры писали о невероятной храбрости и дерзости амазонок.
Поскольку амазонки считались самыми грозными женщинами на земле, они оказали огромное влияние на отношение к женщине в Африканских странах и за их пределами."

Огненный полтергейст (a woman, LM)
Серия загадочных пожаров в Англии с 1971 по 1975 годы связана с именем некой Барбары Були. Каждый из них вспыхивал каждый раз, когда женщину, известную тяжелым характером, увольняли с работы. В британской прессе пожары получили название «мстительный огонь». В августе 1971 года Барбару рассчитали в отеле «Беркли Вейл» в Стоуне (графство Глостершир). Миссис Були лишилась места поварихи, а гостиница... части имущества, сгоревшего в огне. Осенью того же года конфликтная Барбара повздорила с администрацией школы-интерната в Бриджуотере (графство Сомерсет). Вскоре в интернате вспыхнула спальня. Еще через два года полиция проявила интерес к миссис Були уже по поводу пожара в женской школе города Бата. Прошло четыре месяца, и три пожара, один за другим, «наведались» в гостиницу «Лебедь» в Тыосбери. Естественно, по времени они совпали с очередным конфликтом, разгоревшимся между Були и администрацией отеля. Причем в третий раз пожарные спасали «Лебедя» уже после отъезда Були. В начале 1975 года последнее ЧП, связанное со скандальной женщиной, произошло в гостинице «Тюрбей» графства Девоншир. Миссис Були известили об увольнении, а на следующий день загорелись постельные принадлежности в комнате обслуживающего персонала.
В полиции Барбара, признавая, что пожары всякий раз следовали за очередным скандалом, категорически отрицала поджог. Дело о «мстительном огне» так и не дошло до суда — за недостаточностью улик. С этого же времени прекратились всякие упоминания и о Барбаре Були. По мнению специалистов, регистрирующих случаи с подобными людьми, чаще всего ими становятся подростки.
В 1982 году необычная история приключилась с девятилетним Бенедетто Зупино (Benedetto Supino). Сын плотника из итальянского города Фарма, дожидаясь очереди к стоматологу, внезапно загорелся. Ребенку повезло: он не получил серьезных ожогов. Но через несколько дней необычное явление повторилось. Утром мальчик проснулся от жуткой боли: белье на нем тлело. Затем странные способности Бенедетто стали распространяться на окружающие предметы. От взгляда Зупини вспыхивали пластмасса, мебель, осветительные приборы. Феноменом заинтересовались ученые-медики. Однако разгадать явление они так и не смогли. Через четыре года «задачку» с похожими условиями, но уже специалистам Украины задал некий Саша К., 13-летний подросток из Енакиева. Осенью 1986 года в квартире его родителей оказалось пробитым оконное стекло. Входное отверстие первого стекла походило на обычную пробоину камня из рогатки; выходное было ровным, без трещин, с оплавленными краями. Затем странности начали демонстрировать электроприборы: то включались, то выключались лампы, телевизор, холодильник. Сами по себе воспламенилось ковровое покрытие в прихожей и обивка входной двери. Пожар жильцы потушили, не догадываясь, что это всего лишь начало. За короткое время квартира вспыхивала девять раз: загорались газеты, мебель, розетки, клеенка на балконе. Наконец, измотавшись на войне с пожарами, семья переехала на новое место. Но и здесь неведомая сила вскоре проявила свой норов. Буквально через несколько дней на глазах у бабушки стала дымиться тряпка у двери. А после того как мальчик попал на квартиру к своей двоюродной сестре и на глазах последней вспыхнула шубка, шарфик и шапка девочки, всякие сомнения в том, что во всем виноват Саша, рассеялись окончательно.Наконец, мальчика решили обследовать врачи. Однако хоть как-то объяснить таинственные способности не смогли и они. Причины «огненного феномена» так и остались не выясненными до сих пор.

Women of Africa: Solar backpack entrepreneur brightens pupils' lives - video
6 January 2016
Eco-friendly entrepreneur Thato Kgatlhanye is the founder of Rethaka Repurpose Schoolbags, which designs and manufactures school bags from recycled plastic bags in South Africa. The bags also have a built-in solar light that charges during the day and can be used by school children living in homes without electricity to study after dark. Ms Kgatlhanye won $50,000 (£34,000) in prize money to start off her business. This initial investment went into machinery and staff salaries.
The company now employs 20 people and there are plans to expand production to include new lines.

Africa. Burundi security troops gang-raped women, UN says - video
15 January 2016
The BBC's Maud Jullien is shown 'mass grave' after the attacks. The United Nations says it has evidence that Burundi's security forces gang-raped women while searching the homes of suspected opposition leaders. Security forces separated the women and raped them, the UN said, adding that it had documented 13 cases. Forces also kidnapped, tortured and killed dozens of young men, it said. Meanwhile, a court has sentenced four generals to life in jail for their part in trying to overthrow President Pierre Nkurunziza in May last year. Nine other officers were jailed for 30 years and eight soldiers, including drivers and body guards, to five years for their role in the unrest sparked by Mr Nkurunziza's announcement that he would run for a third term.
He secured a third term in disputed elections in July. The abuses documented by the UN took place immediately after rebel attacks in December against three military camps in the country's capital, Bujumbura, the UN's human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, said in a statement.

Australia migrants flow into New Zealand
2 Feb 2016
New Zealanders have traditionally gone to Australia in search of work, but for the first time in almost a quarter of a century, more people are heading east from Australia to New Zealand. More people are moving from Australia to New Zealand than vice versa for the first time in 24 years, officials say. Statistics NZ said 25,273 people migrated to New Zealand from Australia in 2015. This included both emigrating Australians and New Zealanders who were returning home. A total of 24,504 people moved from New Zealand to Australia, with a net flow of 769 people to New Zealand. This was the highest net flow to New Zealand since 1991. New Zealand's economic and political stability, along with the end of Australia's mining boom, have been credited for the shift. The small Pacific nation's Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler said last week that tourism, construction activity and a lift in business and consumer confidence would power growth in 2016. In 2012 a record 53,000 New Zealand residents departed for Australia, while just 13,900 people moved from Australia to New Zealand.

Cologne Carnival: Police record 22 sexual assaults  - video

5 February 2016
Policemen arrest a man during Weiberfastnacht celebrations as part of the carnival season on February 4, 2016 in Cologne, Germany. Officials are refusing to discuss the ethnicity of those arrested at the street festival. Police in Cologne have said that 22 incidents of sexual assault occurred in the city on the first night of the traditional Carnival street party. They have 190 people in custody and officials have described them as "a cross section of the general public". Security has been beefed up in the city, after many women suffered sexual assaults and robberies there on New Year's Eve. Germany was shocked by the New Year assaults, largely blamed on migrants. Cologne sex attacks: Women describe 'terrible' assaults. Cologne migrant 'embarrassed' at carnival. More than 100 women were victims, but the full scale of events on that night only emerged later. Anna Holligan reports from CologneTwo young women taking part in carnival celebrations. Many women are taking part in celebrations, but there has been a lower turnout than in previous years . Police said the number of sex attacks on the first night of Carnival was higher than at last year's event. A suspect was in custody after a woman was attacked and raped while on her way home, they added. The city in western Germany has deployed 2,500 police officers for the week-long event, which usually draws 1.5 million visitors. Turnout is said to be lower than usual despite the extra security, which some officials have attributed to rainy weather. Enhanced security measures include the use of "body cams" which can film suspects during incidents and are being trialled by German police. Police officers in front of train stationImage copyright AP Image caption Some police officers have been trialling "body cams" which can film suspects during incidents Female revellers party during carnival celebrations in Cologne. Cologne's Carnival is a traditional week-long celebration . The New Year unrest in the city fuelled German unease about a huge influx of asylum seekers. Authorities spoke of a new type of crime, in which gangs of drunken men - described as North African - targeted women. Migration to Germany from outside the EU soared to a record 1.1 million last year, with Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised for having welcomed so many asylum seekers. Cologne resident Miriam was attacked as she and a friend made their way home on New Year's Eve. She said she was going to the Carnival celebrations "but with really mixed feelings". "I'm wondering if something like that could happen again." Carnival enthusiasts walk past members of the German police in Cologne. This year's event takes place amid the shock caused by the New Year assaults A female reveller takes part in Cologne's carnival. About 2,500 police officers have been deployed and safe areas created as part of the security measures.

On this Invasion Day, I am angry. Australia has a long way to go
26 January 2016
26 January is alternately known as Australia Day, Invasion Day and the Day of Mourning. @IndigenousX host Pekeri Ruska reflects on what this date means to her and her people. I am an Aboriginal women, born in 1987 into a staunch family who were ready to teach me and my siblings the truth from birth. They had walked the walk and had earned their right to talk the talk, to educate. But before I had even left my mother’s womb, I was a statistic, another Aboriginal person to be counted on the census to add to the 3% or so of other Aboriginal people that made up our population in 1987 on a continent where only 199 years prior to my birth, we made up 100% of it. By 1900, it was estimated that the Aboriginal population had decreased by 87%. I’ve never known 26 January as Australia Day, I was fortunate to be educated outside of the official curriculum and was taught what really occurred on this date 228 years ago. It is because of that education I know 26 January as Invasion Day and the Day of Mourning. On this date began a war, an unsolicited occupation and the mass murder of our people. The acts of aggression committed against Aboriginal people constitute nothing short of genocide, yet many Australians chooses to remain wilfully ignorant. The true nature of the Frontier Wars is rarely taught in schools and most our massacre sites go unrecognised by the mainstream. Yet Anzac Day is made a public holiday so the country can commemorate the sacrifices of those who fought a foreign war on foreign shores. This is a prime example of white Australia’s denial and guilt. Maybe it’s just too close to home, too unsettling for them to acknowledge that the land they stand on was stolen, drenched in the blood and suffering of our Aboriginal ancestors. The longer they exclude or sugarcoat the whole truth from the curriculum, the longer non-Indigenous Australians will remain ignorant. It was on 26 January, 1938 when the Aborigines Progressive Association declared this date the “Day of Mourning”. A conference and protest was held “against the callous treatment of our people by the white man during the past 150 years”. Seventy-seven years on, this is still a day of mourning. We choose this day to commemorate our fallen warriors. We take to the streets to pay homage, to continue their legacy of fight and resistance. They did not die for us to celebrate the beginning of invasion and genocide. It is only because of all our ancestors have done that we can call ourselves Aboriginal, that we still have an identity. Every time we take to the streets we continue to stand for our Aboriginal identity in an attempt to be free, for our people now and those of the future. If you ask most Aboriginal people what it means to be Aboriginal, they’ll proudly tell you the name of their tribe and where they belong. To varying degrees, we still have our stories, songs, dances, languages and ceremonies. Our identity is an ancient one, rooted in ancient customs, traditions and culture, all connected to people, place and creation. But if we ask what it means to be Australian? Ask any Australian about their national dance, culture and language. They can only give you an example of something adopted from elsewhere, more often than not the United Kingdom. They do not have anything of their own to connect to but a recently-formed national identity, connected to a country many thousands of miles away, privileged to be living on stolen land and the proceeds of genocide. Australians can take responsibility for what their ancestors did and maybe find a true meaning to their identity by firstly encouraging the teaching of real history pre- and post-1788. They could go further to understand that not all Aboriginal people want to be recognised in the Australian constitution, and that voting in any election on this issue is an assertion of their privilege. Instead, they could listen to the alternatives that we discuss among ourselves, such as a treaty, a seventh state, even our own tribal council to make our own laws that would allow for land to be handed back on our terms, not the terms of the coloniser. And on days like today, the rest of Australia could commemorate the invasion and death of our lands and people, not celebrate it. But for now, I am angry. I see red. My blood boils. And as I head to my favourite beach, on my beautiful island home to write this article, a convoy of patriotic tourists flying Australian flags bigger then their windscreens, are bogged in the soft sand of Stradbroke Island. The family members stand on the sand dunes, drinking beer, cheering the drivers on as they rip up the dunes as a form of entertainment. Australia still has a long way to go. Many Australians today will tell you that what happened was not their fault, that they can’t change what their ancestors and other “colonisers” did. In order to truly understand, this country needs to accept a lot of truths that are otherwise conveniently ignored.

Australian leaders ignite push for republic
25 Jan 2016
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who previously led Australia's republican movement, meets Queen Elizabeth II for the first time in November 2015. Almost all of Australia's state and territory leaders have signed a document in support of the country becoming a republic. The only leader who declined to sign, Western Australia's Colin Barnett, said he was supportive of a republic but believed now was not the right time. Australians voted against becoming a republic in a 1999 referendum. Current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was leader of the republican movement at that time. But since coming to power, Mr Turnbull has said no change should occur until the reign of Queen Elizabeth II ends. The state premiers of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, and the chief ministers of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, signed the document in favour of replacing the Queen as head of state. Australian Republican Movement chairman Peter FitzSimons said all Australian leaders, including Mr Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten, supported severing ties with the monarchy.
"Never before have the stars of the Southern Cross been so aligned in pointing to the dawn of a new republican age for Australia," Mr FitzSimons said in a statement. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said it was "well past time for Australia to become a sovereign nation. Any self-respecting independent country would aspire to select one of its own citizens as head of state," Mr Weatherill said. But the national convener of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy, Professor David Flint, told the Herald Sun that republicans had not yet settled on a model to replace the current system. "They can get all the support they want from celebrities and politicians, but they still haven't put forward what model they want, and told us how it will improve the governance of Australia," Prof Flint said. Australia currently operates as a constitutional monarchy, with the Queen officially listed as head of state and represented by a governor general.

Grace Mugabe profile: The rise of Zimbabwe's first lady

AfricaZimbabweGraceMugabeWifeOfMP1.jpg (4)  AfricaZimbabweGraceMugabeWifeOfMPBusinesses.jpg   AfricaZimbabweVicePresidentJoiceMujuru.jpg
4 December 2014
Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe has taken centre stage as the ruling Zanu-PF party holds an important meeting on the future leadership of the country. BBC Africa's Zimbabwe correspondent Brian Hungwe charts her rise. President Robert Mugabe began wooing Grace Marufu over tea and scones while the young typist was working in state house. A divorcee with a son, she says she was initially hesitant about such a relationship. Mr Mugabe is more than 40 years her senior and his first wife Sally, a Ghanaian who was much loved in Zimbabwe, was terminally ill at the time. But insiders say that during office tea breaks Mr Mugabe continued to work his charm. Mr Mugabe has said Sally did give her consent to the union before she died in 1992 - though they did not marry until four years later. Together the first couple have three children, the last born in 1997. 
"He came to me and started asking about my family," she said in a rare interview about their first encounter in the late 1980s. I looked at him as a father figure. I did not think he would at all look at me and say: 'I like that girl.' I least expected that." Grace Mugabe has since grown into a powerful businesswoman and sees herself as a philanthropist, founding an orphanage on a farm just outside the capital, Harare, with the help of Chinese funding. But a new road sign reading "Dr Grace Mugabe Way" - put up near the dusty piece of land near the Zanu-PF headquarters as delegates gathered for the party congress - shows how her ambitions have broadened in the last year. The 49-year-old is believed to have earned her sociology PhD in two months from the University of Zimbabwe. Her thesis is reportedly about orphanages but has not been filed in the university library. However, the doctorate gives the first lady gravitas - and within weeks of being capped, campaign material with her new title appeared at rallies around the country as she prepared to take over the leadership of the Zanu-PF women's wing after being nominated for the role in August. Sharp tongue
It is fair to say Mrs Mugabe evokes strong emotions - her fans applaud her style and forthright nature, her detractors have nicknamed her "Gucci Grace" and "DisGrace" because of her alleged appetite for extravagant shopping. Her entry into the president's life did seem to change his ideological outlook - he had always been a Marxist with a Pan-Africanist inclination. Fay Chung, Mr Mugabe's former education minister, says he was not materialistic and lacked a proper understanding of budgeting.
Grace Mugabe:
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace greet delegates at a Zanu-PF meeting in 2008 Began affair with Robert Mugabe, 41 years her senior, whilst working as a typist in state house. Married Mr Mugabe, her second husband, in 1996 in an extravagant ceremony. They have three children. Nicknamed "Gucci Grace" by her critics who accuse her of lavish spending. Along with her husband, is subject to EU and US sanctions, including travel bans. Praised by supporters for her charitable work and founding of an orphanage. Received a PhD in September 2014, a month after being nominated to takeover the leadership of the Zanu-PF women's league. In the mid-1980s, Zanu-PF gave Mr Mugabe a big piece of land in the upmarket Harare suburb of Borrowdale to build a home on. But it lay undeveloped for a decade-and-a-half until Grace Mugabe became involved. Now the first family have vast properties, businesses and farms dotted around the country, mainly in the rich western and northern Mashonaland provinces.
She is known to be tough - at one time kicking some farm workers and their families off land - but she is usually modest and reserved in interviews. Her political rallies during her "meet the nation" tour have shown a new surprising side to the first lady - her sharp tongue. Grace Mugabe was vocal about those she regarded as opponents at her rallies A supporter of Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe holds a poster of her as she addresses her maiden political rally in Chinhoyi - 2 October 2014. She toured all of Zimbabwe's 10 provinces holding rallies. As she took to the podium in each of the country's 10 provinces, she was unrelenting, using chilling words, in Shona and English, to pick on her opponents.
"'Stop it. Ndakakumaka rough (I don't like you and I'm watching you)," she warned. She also lashed out at the late Heidi Holland, the Zimbabwean-born author of Dinner with Mugabe, saying she had died because she had been cursed for writing lies about her husband. For Zimbabweans, it was like a soap opera - she washed the ruling party's dirty linen in public, calling on those she picked on to resign or apologise. She is feared and has been known always to get what she wantsMarcellina Chikasha,, ADP leader
Her main target was Vice-President Joice Mujuru, and politicians linked to the independence fighter suddenly woke up to allegations of assassination plots. She said some of them had spent time plotting to oust her husband.
A week later, state-owned media made sensational claims of senior government officials going abroad scouting for a hit man to finish off Mr Mugabe.
When Mrs Mugabe returned home from a trip to the Vatican in October, walking behind her husband, she openly refused to shake Mrs Mujuru's hand.
At rallies she explained her behaviour, saying the vice-president should be sacked from government because she was "corrupt, an extortionist, incompetent, a gossiper, a liar and ungrateful".
Joice Mujuru pictured in 2012Image caption Vice-President Joice Mujuru - part of the political elite - was the target of some of Mrs Mugabe's attacks
Her tirade continued. Mrs Mujuru was "power-hungry, daft, foolish, divisive and a disgrace", she said, accusing her of collaborating with opposition forces and white people to undermine the country's post-independence gains.
Party youths have warned that they do not want to see Mrs Mujuru at the Zanu-PF congress - she has already been barred from serving on its powerful central committee because of the allegations, which she denies.
Charity Manyeruke, a pro-Zanu PF political analyst, says Mrs Mugabe's approach is a "refreshing departure from the culture of not being very open about issues of serious concern".
Kudzanai Chipanga, Zanu-PF youth chairperson, agrees: "She hates corruption - she will be a good leader."
But for senior party leaders, like veteran Cephas Msipa, the attacks on Mrs Mujuru and others are "unAfrican" and they fear they could "split the party".
The first lady has had praise for some, saying Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who like Mrs Mujuru has been seen as a successor to Mr Mugabe, is "loyal and disciplined".
A young boy looks at a milk packaging from Alpha Omega Dairy, a brand launched by Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe, in a supermarket in Harare, on 11 July 2012. Mrs Mugabe runs a dairy and markets the products under the Alpha Omega Dairy label
And she has not denied the speculation that she may one day wish to replace her 90-year-old husband herself.
"They say I want to be president. Why not? Am I not a Zimbabwean?" she remarked at one rally. Marcellina Chikasha, leader of the small new African Democratic Party (ADP), says Mrs Mugabe's "phenomenal rise to power" has astounded many who consider themselves her "intellectual and political superior". "Call her shrewd, power hungry or plain old 'being in the right place at the right time' - this typist has become a kingmaker in Zimbabwe's succession politics," she says. "She is tenacious and determined; she is naive and unpolished; she is feared and has been known always to get what she wants."

Qasem Gardi found guilty of trying to kill former girlfriend by strangling her with hijab
NOVEMBER 26, 2015
A SPURNED boyfriend has been convicted of trying to kill his former partner by strangling her with a hijab. Supreme Court Justice David Lovell on Monday found Qasem Gardi, 25, guilty of the attempted murder of his then-girlfriend at Para Vista in October last year. In his written verdict, Justice Lovell said he had found, beyond reasonable doubt, that Gardi had intended to kill her when he first pulled her scarf or hijab. Prosecutors had alleged Gardi lured his then-girlfriend, who was 18 at the time, into his car before using her hijab to strangle her in and out of consciousness. “He tricked her into meeting with him and when she did he threatened her with a box cutter and drove her away to another location, where he strangled her with a scarf or hijab she was wearing over her head,” prosecutor Lucy Boord said. An emergency call to paramedics made by Gardi after he tried to kill her was played to the court. Gardi can be heard telling the operator “I tried to kill my girlfriend,” and “I did something bad to her.” When the operator asks what happened, he says “we had an argument, I have no idea, hurry up.” During the 12-minute call, the teenage victim can be heard moaning and at times screaming. The Advertiser has chosen not to publish the full recording because the distress of the victim can be clearly heard. The court heard the girlfriend had met Gardi, originally from Iran, at the Adelaide Secondary School of English after arriving as a refugee from Afghanistan seven years ago. Ms Boord said Gardi became “controlling” of her and would tell her what to wear and not to talk to other men. She said when the girlfriend decided to end the relationship, Gardi had stalked her at her workplace and constantly harassed her to take him back. “The accused did not want (the victim) working there. He had said to her something like ‘there are too many Muslim guys that come in there’ and he also called her a sl*t for wanting to work there,” she said. In his verdict, Justice Lovell said prosecutors had established that Gardi intended to kill her.
“I find beyond reasonable doubt that the intent continued, at least when he manually strangled her as well, although I am unable to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the intent to kill her continued for the entire trip in the car,” he said.
‘That of course does not matter, having found that he formed the intent to kill at the time he tightened the scarf, this is sufficient in this case for the prosecution to have established the mental element beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Gardi, who waved to the public gallery as he escorted from the dock, will face sentencing submissions when he appears in court again next month.

Ethel Smith: Weird Organ Lady or Mondo Organista?

The organist whose recording of "Tico-Tico" sold over one million records was born in Pittsburgh in 1910. Ethel Goldsmith (her real name) was graduated from Carnegie Tech, where she majored in music and language. (She spoke French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and German.) Her instrument was the piano; her first job, the pit of the local legitimate theatre.
Then a Shubert show that was playing Pittsburgh took Ethel with it on a twenty-eight-week tour of the United States. While in California, she was offered a job playing the organ, accompanying a singer at a movie studio, and to gain practice went to a local music store and offered to demonstrate theirs. Within a few days customers were gathering around her to listen, so proficient had she become. From then on she was booked as an organist.
Ethel's star rose in 1940. She had been working a four-week booking in Rio de Janeiro, paying one hundred clollars weekly, then her top salary. She had gone over well, and the management kept extending her engagement. But one night, while roaming around a tough section of Rio, she heard an interesting beat. It came from a combo that was playing in the back room of a "cheap dance hall." She entered and mixed with the musicians during their break and asked what they were playing. No one knew the name or the composer but they explained that the song had been played for many years in Argentina. From then on Ethel began playing it in her act in the arrangement she had made of it for the organ. Her audiences, mostly wealthy Argentinians and tourists, had never heard the tune and acclaimed it. If it hadn't been for Pearl Harbor, says Ethel, she might still be there. But when the war broke out everyone advised her to return. In no time after coming to New York "Tico-Tico" was a smash hit and Ethel was besieged with offers to play her hit recording. Ethel, a strong personality on and off stage, and with a flair for showmanship, remained a name in show business even after "Tico-Tico" was no longer hot. She commanded large sums to appear at presentation houses and in such films as Bathing Beauty (1944) with Esther- Williams, George White's Scandals (1945), and Cuban Pete (1946) with Desi Arnaz.
In 1945 Ethel married Ralph Bellamy, who at the time was appearing on Broadway in State of the Union, and the couple lived in Ethel's Park Vendome apartment. In 1947 Bellamy walked out, stating that he had no intention of paying his wife alimony. Ethel charged abandonment and claimed that he drank heavily, that he was moody, and would lock himself in his room. The organist said her husband became jealous when at their parties she received most of the attention. Bellamy contended that she had advised him to be home fifteen minutes after his final curtain or he would find the door locked.
Ethel never remarried and had no children. She lived alone amidst neighbors columnist Louis Sobol and singer Arthur Tracy. She still practicesd her organ and a piano a good deal and became quite proficient on the guitar. She hated interviews and people who would bring up "Tico-Tico" whenever her name was mentioned, but often lamented that had she copyrighted the song, how very rich she would have become. However, Ethel made enough to live very well and concentrate on acting she seemed to prefer. In the late 1960's she accepted several small parts in plays that would showcase her talent for character acting. Her work in a Franchot Tone-Theatre Four production received some favorable attention, and in about 1969 she had a brief run in an off-Broadway musical version of Tom Jones.
(This article originally appeared in Cool and Strange Music! Magazine, issue 18, pp. 16-19- Photos added by
Organist, pianist, guitarist, percussionist, singer, composer, movie/stage actress, radio/nightclub personality, ethnomusicologist, linguist, publisher, pedagogue - it's hard to find a single word to describe Ethel Smith. Unlike today's one-trick ponies and one-hit wonders, she could simply do it all. Given such extraordinary talents, it is hardly surprising that she rubbed shoulders with superstars such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, Xavier Cugat, and Desi Arnaz, as well as statesmen and writers, such as Cordell Hull and Fanny Hurst. She was a genuine polymath; they just don't make 'em like her anymore.
We don't know much about Ethel Smith's formative years. She was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to parents Max Goldsmith and Elizabeth ("Betty") Bober. Although she publicly gave her birthdate as November 22, 1910, she was actually born in 1902 - exactly 40 years before another aficionado of the Leslie - Jimi Hendrix. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Miss Smith became adept at three of her lifelong passions - music, languages, and golf. Golf was learned on Pittsburgh's municipal links at the age of sixteen. Organ studies began with Dr. Caspar Koch, Organist to the City of Pittsburgh, Professor at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), and author of many pedagogical works. Miss Smith also studied German, French, and Spanish at Carnegie Tech, although records show that she never formally enrolled or obtained a degree. After college, she became the first woman to ever play in the pit orchestra for a Shubert show - the touring production of Romberg's "The Student Prince," which took her on a 28-week tour of the United States.
Two events dramatically changed the subsequent course of Ethel Smith's career. In 1935 the Hammond Corporation produced its first electric organ. The instrument revolutionized the keyboard genre by combining the fast action of the piano with the timbral resources of the organ. Miss Smith spotted her first Hammond while accompanying a singer in a Hollywood studio. According to her, "I just ran my fingers over [the organ] and said 'That's for me!'" (New York Times, May 16, 1943). Soon she was so proficient that she was able to pick up gigs in and around Hollywood, and even played on local radio broadcasts. An astute Hammond dealer discovered her and, seeing obvious marketing potential, allowed her to take an instrument to Florida, where she had landed an engagement accompanying a trio at a small Bavarian restaurant. She was paid $15 dollars a week and all the Sauerbraten she could eat (Motion Picture Magazine, August 1945).
The second event also occurred around 1935. On a pleasure trip to Cuba, Miss Smith encountered Latin music on location; she immediately caught the bug and started to make regular trips to the Caribbean and South/Central America. She toured the region as head of the entertainment group on the ship carrying the American delegates to the 8th Pan-American Conference led by Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under Franklin D. Roosevelt and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. But it wasn't all work and no play for Miss Smith. As she later recalled:
For a while I became a regular tropical hep chick. I stuck my nose into every smoky cabaret that boasted a native orchestra. Whenever they let me I'd sit in with the boys for a little Latin jam session. That way it didn't take long to collect a trunk load of authentic and out of the way rhythms and melodies - including such lush and sultry-sounding ones as charareras, milongas, bambucos, pasillos, guarachas, habaneras, and, of course, the traditional sambas, rhumbas and congas. (Souvenir Album, Decca A-565, 1947.) Audiences clearly resonated with Miss Smith and dubbed her "Empress of the Hammond."
By 1941, Miss Smith's stock was on the rise as she took over from Eddie Duchin at the infamous Copacabana Casino in Rio de Janeiro. We don't know whether she knew Lola and her trademark yellow feathers or whether she witnessed the fatal shooting, but Miss Smith could certainly merengue and cha-cha-cha with the best of them. In March 1942, towards the end of her seven-month stint at the Copa, Miss Smith was noticed by an American Tobacco Company executive. ATC, with its Lucky Strike cigarettes, was the sponsor of the popular weekly radio show "Your Hit Parade," broadcast from New York City. When the executive's entertainment-purchasing boss looked for an exponent of Latin American rhythms, he remembered her. He called the Copa, but Miss Smith had already returned to the States. Someone else mentioned seeing just such an organist at the Iridium Room of New York's lavish St. Regis Hotel. The executive rushed round, only to discover that she was indeed the same organist he had seen in Rio. In fact, Miss Smith's trio had been playing there since April 1942 (switching to the Viennese Roof during the summer), delighting fans like Andre Kostelanetz, who dropped in one evening to see what all the fuss was about. He left with a copy of "Tico-Tico" so that he could make his own arrangement (Motion Picture Magazine, August 1945). According to Abel Green's review, the trio earned high marks for "dancapation" and was "plenty O.K. with the Brazilian sambas, maxixes, and the usual - Viennese waltz and kindred sets" (Variety, April 22, 1942).
Miss Smith finished her engagement at the St. Regis and began playing for "Your Hit Parade" on February 12, 1943. There, she arranged popular songs and performed with such luminaries as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. But she lasted only one year before Hollywood beckoned. Little wonder - on the heels of FDR's "Good Neighbor Policy," film studios were eager to showcase the most recent Latin music craze. In 1944, Ethel Smith appeared with Xavier Cugat and Harry James in the musical numbers for Bathing Beauty, her first feature for MGM. In the film, Esther Williams starred as the swimming instructor at the all-girl "Victoria College." Red Skelton played her fiancé, a tunesmith ready to give up Hollywood for his amphibious sweetheart. Ethel Smith played a comic cameo as an "Assistant Music Professor." In her big scene, some of the girls burst into her office. She is seated at the organ. They beg her to play. With dainty grace, wearing an impeccable peacock-blue cocktail dress and adorned with jewels, Miss Smith removes her wire-rimmed spectacles and lets rip with "By the Waters of Minnetonka" and "Tico-Tico." (An orchestra is cleverly concealed somewhere in the office.) Her perfectly coifed hair never musses, her beatific smile never wavers, and her spike-heeled feet never get sore as her whole body dances over the instrument. In "Tico-Tico," she even plays the organ with one hand and a large tambourine with the other. The girls get into the mood as they beat on bongos and tom-toms that just happen to be lying around. Miss Smith reappears at the end of Bathing Beauty, playing alongside Harry James at a benefit show. During the performance of "Loch Lomond/I'll Take the High Note," Miss Smith is wheeled onstage while playing the Hammond. She eventually gets caught up in the revelry and does a high line kick as well as any Rockette!
Like many Hollywood stars, Miss Smith did her part to entertain the boys during WWII. She performed "Moonlight Bay" with Bing Crosby on the "Kraft Music Hall" (November 9, 1944), a show distributed to the soldiers through the War Department. Her collaborations with Bing didn't end there: they also recorded four numbers for Decca - "Just a Prayer Away" and "My Mother's Waltz" in 1944 (along with the Ken Darby Singers and Victor Young Orchestra); "Sweetest Story Ever Told" and "Mighty Lak' a Rose" in 1945 (along with the Song Spinners and Lehman Engel Orchestra).
Other films followed Bathing Beauty as audiences clamored for more of Miss Smith, who by then had her hands insured by Lloyd's for $500,000 (Motion Picture Magazine, August 1945). 1945 saw George White's Scandals (which paired Miss Smith with Gene Krupa for her musical numbers) and Twice Blessed. 1946 brought Easy to Wed, again with Esther Williams, and Cuban Pete, which its star, Desi Arnaz, deemed a "B minus" movie (D. Arnaz, A Book, NY: Warner, 1976). In 1948, Miss Smith made an appearance in the Disney feature Melody Time, where she starred with Donald Duck, José (Joe) Carioca, and the Aracuan Bird. Dressed like Carmen Miranda - minus the fruit plate - Miss Smith appears in person at the Hammond swirling inside a brandy snifter. She breaks into "Blame it on the Samba," with her pretty pumps prancing on the pedals. We also get to watch her dance and play the bongos in this number! Towards the end of the sequence, the Hammond is blown up by her feathered friends, but magically reassembles itself without Miss Smith missing a beat. Unfortunately, her face was not to be seen again on screen for another twenty years.
At the height of her film career, Miss Smith's personal life took a turn for the worse. Claiming abandonment in 1947, Ethel Smith filed papers to divorce Ralph Bellamy, her husband of merely two years. Drinking heavily, often locking himself in his room, and eventually walking out of their Parc Vendôme apartment (at 350 W. 57th St.), the star of such classics as His Girl Friday (1941) and Rosemary's Baby (1968) apparently couldn't cope with the attention heaped upon his vivacious and virtuosic wife. He claimed she was possessive, demanding that he be home fifteen minutes after the curtain fell on the Broadway play in which he was appearing. Bellamy was Miss Smith's second failed marriage; an early marriage to a Mr. Spiro had ended in divorce before 1940.
In later years, Miss Smith continued to perform and play golf. Her company, Ethel Smith Music Corp., which she founded in the mid 1940s, continued to publish highly successful arrangements of popular tunes and instructional books for the Hammond, not to mention the occasional oddity such as "Ethel Smith's Latin American Rhythms for Percussion Instruments" (1951) and her Hammond arrangements of Fritz Kreisler's virtuosic violin pieces (1953). Her company also ran a "Hits of the Month" plan, in which subscribers were treated to a glamour shot of Miss Smith and 4 or 5 tunes arranged for the Hammond. The Hansen Music Corp. in Miami now holds the rights for this material. Miss Smith's records were also extremely successful: she produced over 20 albums in all, mostly with Decca. In addition, she developed a topnotch nightclub act in which she played the organ, sang, played percussion and guitar, told jokes, and even demonstrated the mechanics of the Hammond. She played "Pops" concerts with orchestras in Paris, London, Milan, Boston, Cleveland, and Indianapolis. In the 1960s, Miss Smith took a renewed interest in acting. Specializing in small character roles, she capitalized on her keen ear for dialects. She performed in off-Broadway productions, such as a musical version of Tom Jones in 1969. Miss Smith eventually returned to the big screen to play a small role in C'mon, Let's Live a Little, starring Bobby Vee and Jackie DeShannon. As Bobby Vee's Aunt Ethel, she wore Mondrian-patterned go-go boots while singing with a hillbilly twang and playing guitar in the country (!) song "Way Back Home."
Although she never remarried and never had children, Miss Smith lived a full life in Manhattan. She entertained her friends, who included the novelist Fanny Hurst, the New York Journal-American "Voice of Broadway" columnist Louis Sobol, and the singer Arthur Tracy (whose 1937 recording of "Pennies from Heaven" was featured in Steve Martin's 1981 movie of the same name). In the mid 1970s she moved south to Palm Beach, Florida. With her apartment at Worth Avenue and Ocean Boulevard mere blocks from the Everglades Golf Course, Miss Smith continued to golf and even played the occasional concert for friends and visiting celebrities. She hated interviews and people who brought up her "Tico-Tico" days. Ethel Smith died of a progressive illness at 4:55 a.m. on May 10, 1996. At her request, no memorial service was held.
Looking back at Ethel Smith's musical legacy, two things stand out: her remarkable technique and her vivid imagination. As a player, she insisted that technical prowess was just as important for playing popular music as it was for classical, though she admitted that high heels would not be appropriate for playing Bach. In an interview with Etude magazine (May 1947), Miss Smith stressed the need for clarity in articulation and accuracy in rhythm: "The lightest touch suffices, and the rhythmic effects resulting from even this lightest touch, are so sharp that they reflect in the entire body." She added, "It's hard to sit still as you guide a developing phrase or a rising crescendo and you feel that you are experiencing complete physical expression." To see what she meant, just catch her performances of "Tico-Tico" in Bathing Beauty or "Blame it on the Samba" in Melody Time!
+Ethel Smith was also concerned with sound quality. As she explained in another interview for Etude (May 1944), "The Hammond organist mixes tone color on a musical palette much in the manner of a painter in oils. He is not limited to ready-mixed colors." In fact, no one has ever made the Hammond sound quite like her. To some extent, this is due to her careful choice of organ stops and draw bars. Compare, for example, the shimmering pentatonic washes in "By the Waters of Minnetonka" (Bathing Beauty/Galloping Fingers) with the stark, other-worldly sound of "Firebird Blues" (Bouquet of the Blues) or the gnarly distortion of "Ethel Meets the Count" (Many Moods of Ethel Smith). She was particularly imaginative in recreating orchestral sounds and claimed that when arranging an instrumental piece for the organ she would "phrase as a flutist or clarinetist would" (Etude, May 1947). But Miss Smith's unique sound also depended upon her exceptional skills at transcription. In particular, she avoided clunky block chords preferring instead parallel thirds or other polyphonic devices. Take a listen to the ingenious countermelodies in "Brazil" (Many Moods of Ethel Smith/Latin from Manhattan). Using classical techniques, she even layered the same tune on top of itself to create her own "Fugue in Blue" (Bouquet of the Blues). The results were stunning; she was able to create full and fluid sounds without sacrificing her wonderful sense of color and rhythmic vitality. And that's why she was heralded by the Latin American press as "La Organista Mas Famoso del Mundo!"

Феномен неожиданного омоложения организма
Для того чтобы обнаружить что-то выходящее за рамки нашего понимания, необязательно отправляться на плато Наска, бегать за зелеными человечками или караулить неопознанные летающие объекты. Достаточно просто обратиться к самому человеку - наше тело преподносит иной раз такие сюрпризы, объяснить которые современная наука просто не в силах. Причем речь не идет о ясновидении, левитации или способности ходить по огню без какого бы то ни было ущерба. Речь идет о странных возрастных аномалиях, "шутках природы", когда к человеку внезапно начинает словно возвращаться утраченная молодость. Таких случаев не сказать чтобы очень много, но они известны в медицинской практике: в конце жизненного пути человека течение биологического времени вдруг изменяется на противоположное. С подобным феноменом чаще многих сталкиваются стоматологи: они с удивлением обнаруживают, что у некоторых из их пациентов, глубоких стариков и старушек, вдруг начинают, как у младенцев... резаться зубы! Но и на этом омоложение не заканчивается: темнеют седые волосы, разглаживается сморщенная кожа, восстанавливается здоровье. Вот лишь несколько примеров.
Житель Пекина 91-летний Лань Шижэнь однажды сильно заболел: не мог даже смотреть на еду и слабел прямо на глазах. Врачи лишь разводили руками и ничем помочь не могли, т.к. не сумели выяснить, чем же был болен старый Лань. Три недели пролежал старик в постели, так и не притронувшись к еде, а затем у него проснулся зверский аппетит и вернулась утраченная с годами бодрость. Врачи вновь обследовали Ланя и с удивлением обнаружили, что у старика прорезались новые зубы, а корни седых волос стали черными! "Выражение "беззубая старость" никак теперь не подходит к 90-летней жительнице Шанхая Тань Цзичжень, - пишет китайская газета "Цзефанг жибао". - У нее за короткое время выросло 25 новых зубов, составивших вместе с уцелевшими полный комплект. Демонстрируя в улыбке свои обновы, старушка рассказала журналистам, что зубы у нее стали выпадать еще несколько десятилетий назад. Но однажды бабушка Тань почувствовала зуд и болезненные ощущения в деснах, как это бывает у малышей, когда у них режутся зубки. Когда спустя несколько дней она посмотрела в зеркало, то чуть не упала: обе челюсти сияли молодым жемчужным блеском!" Несколько лет назад агентство "Синьхуа" уже сообщало о подобном чуде, происшедшем с одной пожилой китайской крестьянкой. Правда, радость той старушки не в пример была полнее: вместе с зубами начали активно расти и черные, как смоль, волосы!
А вот то, что недавно начало происходить с 97-летней итальянкой Розой Фарони, не укладывается ни в какие медицинские рамки: сегодня у нее фигура девушки, и она не только не стареет, но и с каждым днем выглядит все моложе! Врачи обескуражены, они потребовали проверить, нет ли обмана, провели обследования на предмет пластических операций, но ничего подобного обнаружено не было. Более того, Роза Фарони даже косметикой никогда не пользовалась. "Эта женщина потрясает. Она, никогда не прибегавшая к пластической операции, выглядит на 70 лет моложе своего возраста! - удивлялся потрясенный доктор Граза на медицинской конференции в Генуе. - Ее память и мозг остры и ясны. Это наиболее загадочный феномен, с которым мне когда-либо довелось встречаться". Впервые он прочитал о Розе в итальянской газете. На фото была запечатлена красивая молодая женщина, окруженная шестью внуками, пятнадцатью правнуками и шестнадцатью праправнуками. Роза Фарони выглядела на фотографии моложе своей тридцатилетней правнучки. Проверка печени, сердца и кровяного артериального давления, проведенная в частной медицинской клинике, показала, что и анализы прабабушки не хуже, чем у девушки. Но, что еще удивительнее - они оказались лучше, чем были в 1960 году. Время словно потекло вспять! Доктор Граза, являющийся экспертом по проблемам старения, будет наблюдать за женщиной полгода, надеясь найти разгадку в ее генетике. А пока он только разводит руками. Сама же виновница переполоха врачей объясняет все благословением свыше. "Я ем все, курю и пью больше, чем нужно, - говорит Роза. - Единственное, что меня обескураживает, это страх забеременеть - смешно рожать, когда тебе под сто, и я вынуждена принимать противозачаточные пилюли".
Японка Сэй Сенагон из города Фукуока, достигнув 75 лет, также почувствовала необъяснимые изменения в своем организме. Сначала у нее исчезла седина, и волосы приобрели былой блеск и черный цвет. Затем стали кровоточить десны, так что она не могла носить зубной протез. Сэй подумала, что это последствия радиации и даже хотела уже написать завещание, но на всякий случай решила все же проконсультироваться с врачами и первый визит нанесла стоматологу. Но тот, осмотрев десны старушки, заявил, что радиация радиацией, но умрет она, видимо, еще не скоро, т.к. у нее неизвестно по какой причине вдруг стали резаться зубы! А дальше последовали и вовсе фантастические события. У Сэй стала разглаживаться кожа на теле и лице, мышцы приобрели былую эластичность, канули в небытие приступы остеохондроза и прочих старческих болячек, и уже через пару лет Сэй перестали узнавать подруги на улице, поскольку она помолодела лет на двадцать. Еще через некоторое время у нее возобновился менструальный цикл, она разошлась со своим супругом и вышла замуж за сорокалетнего банковского служащего, который утверждает, что Сэй выглядит не старше тридцати. Сэй Сенагон на некоторое время стала самой знаменитой и узнаваемой женщиной Японии. У нее без конца брали интервью, приглашали на различные ток-шоу и без конца досаждали просьбами продать за любые деньги секрет ее молодости. Однако еще более удивительно то, что сегодня Сэй выглядит гораздо моложе тридцатилетней женщины и серьезно опасается, что если процесс ее омоложения сохранит нынешние темпы, то лет через пятнадцать она превратится в десятилетнюю девочку! Чем объяснить такие феноменальные превращения, современная наука понять не может. Однако кое-какие шаги на пути познания уже есть: не так давно ученые- геронтологи обнаружили ген, который как бы помогает образованию клеток, способных уничтожать стареющие и умершие клетки.
У них возникла догадка, что онкоген, который при определенных обстоятельствах вызывает бурное и неуправляемое деление клеток и приводит к опухолевым заболеваниям, есть не что иное, как ген молодости, только словно "сошедший с ума" и истребляющий не больные клетки, а здоровые. Поэтому старение - совершенно противоестественно для человеческого организма, внутри которого изначально заложена целая система и программа защиты от надвигающейся смерти. Исследователи сегодня ставят задачу вывести дремлющие резервы из состояния покоя и заставить их активно функционировать. До конца геронтологам причина внезапного пробуждения генов молодости ясна не до конца. А если уж все называть своими именами, то вообще не ясна. Предстоит также выяснить, почему жизненно важные гены обычно спят. Естественно, что для окончательного решения столь сложных проблем ученым постоянно требуются подопытные кролики. И в качестве одного из таких "кроликов" в начале 90-х выступала жительница Германии Аманда Райденаур. Правда, про нее можно сказать, что она молода наполовину. На вид ей можно было дать лет семнадцать- восемнадцать, и она настоящая красавица: у нее прекрасные пышные волосы, нежная прозрачная гладкая кожа, ясные большие глаза, правильные черты лица...
При этом чудесная головка покоится на разбитом годами и болезнями теле - фрау Райденаур в действительности 95 лет, она прабабушка нескольких уже почти взрослых правнуков. И чувствует она себя соответственно своему возрасту. Старость, которая безжалостно расправляется с телом женщины, практически не коснулась ее лица. Этим феноменом заинтересовались медики, провели тщательное обследование и проверку необходимых документов и прежде всего выяснили, что женщина ни разу в жизни не прибегала к пластическим операциям. Ничего путного выяснить не удалось, и фрау Райденаур стали изучать генетики. Когда всемирно известный генетик доктор Герхард Дремкан увидел Аманду Райденаур впервые, то решил, что имеет дело со случаем необычной болезни у очень молодой женщины. Может, это какая-то неизученная форма прогерии, тяжелой неизлечимой болезни, при которой молодой организм начинает внезапно стареть, и человек умирает лет в 20-25, выглядя при этом глубоким стариком? Но Аманда - не молодая девушка, она реально прожила на свете 95 лет.

11 октября отмечается Международный день девочек (11 October is International Girl Child Day made by United Nations)

11 октября отмечается Международный день девочек (International Day of the Girl Child). Эту дату провозгласила Генеральная Ассамблея ООН в знак признания прав девочек и уникальных проблем, с которыми им приходится сталкиваться во всем мире. Впервые день девочек отмечался в 2012 году и был посвящен актуальной для многих стран мира проблеме — детским бракам. Как свидетельствует статистика, почти каждая третья женщина в мире в возрасте от 20 до 24 лет впервые вышла замуж до достижения 18-летия. Треть из них вступили в брак ранее, чем им исполнилось 15 лет. Особенно пугающе эта тенденция выглядит в развивающихся странах: 90 процентов детей, которые рождаются у 15–19-летних подростков, — это дети девочек, уже состоящих в браке. В то же время детские браки представляют собой нарушение основных прав человека и негативно влияют на все аспекты жизни девочек. Ранние браки лишают девочек детства. Их насильно заставляют прерывать образование, возможности таких девочек сильно ограничены, а опасность быть подвергнутыми насилию и домогательствам возрастает в несколько раз. Детские браки угрожают здоровью и жизни девочек, так как ведут к ранним беременностям, к которым детский организм зачастую просто не готов. Первый официально отмечаемый Всемирный день девочек был призван обратить внимание общественности на проблему ранних браков. В рамках этого дня правительствам разных стран в партнерстве с представителями гражданского общества и международным сообществом предлагалось незамедлительно принять меры к тому, чтобы покончить с пагубной практикой детских браков. Для этого ООН рекомендовала на уровне государственной власти принять законы, регламентирующие минимальный возраст вступления в брак, улучшить доступ к качественному начальному и среднему образованию, и оказывать помощь юным женщинам, уже состоящим в браке.
Источник: BiletOmsk.Ru

История женщины с 10 личностями
Мозг человека оснащён сложной системой обработки визуальной информации, которая обеспечивает нас зрением. Однако даже при исправном состоянии этой системы можно стать слепым. Именно это и произошло с героиней этой статьи, которая живёт в Германии. В какой-то момент своей жизни она просто перестала видеть. Поначалу врачи думали, что потеря зрения стала результатом травмы мозга, полученной во время аварии. Однако спустя несколько лет эта женщина проходила курс психотерапии (у неё обнаружилось психическое расстройство) и вдруг её зрительная система стала переключаться из зрячего состояния в слепое. В результате зрение вернулось к ней почти полностью. «Восстановление зрения произошло немедленно после сеанса терапии, в ходе которого мы пытались преодолеть последствия серьёзного травмирующего события. К тому моменту пациентка была слепой уже много лет», — рассказал доктор Ганс Страсбургер из Мюнхенского университета Людвига-Максимилиана. Около 14 лет назад 33-летняя (в то время) женщине с инициалами B.T. был поставлен диагноз диссоциативное нарушение идентичности. Ей была назначена терапия, которую она проходила в Мюнхене. Диссоциативное нарушение идентичности, известное также как синдром множественной личности характеризуется нарушениями в работе памяти и сосуществованием как минимум двух явно различимых состояний личности. Чаще всего им страдают люди, пережившие сильную психологическую травму в детстве, подвергавшиеся физическому или психологическому насилию. Однако сам диагноз считается довольно спорным – некоторые авторитетные специалисты считают его неким культурально-специфичным феноменом. По их мнению, психотерапевты сами подчас подталкивают пациента к тому, что он начинает верить в «расщепление» собственного сознания.
B.T. пришла на приём доктора Вальдвогель со своей собакой-поводырём, объяснив, что потеряла зрение 13 лет назад. Просмотрев её медицинские документы, доктор узнал, что пациентке был поставлен диагноз корковая слепота в результате черепно-мозговой травмы. В результате дальнейшего обследования выяснилось наличие 10 личностей B.T. – все с разными именами, манерой говорить, возрастом, полом, жестикуляцией, мимикой, умственными способностями, темпераментом и другими чертами характера. Некоторые личности говорили только по-английски, другие – только по-немецки, а третьи владели обоими языками (ребёнком В.Т. жила в англоязычной стране, где говорила только по-английски). На четвёртом году психотерапии, после очередного сеанса пациентка вдруг смогла распознать несколько слов, напечатанных на обложке журнала. В этот момент её тело принадлежало личности молодого юноши. Однако, хоть она и смогла узнать целые слова, но отдельные буквы, из которых эти слова состояли, она распознать была не в состоянии.
Но в ходе последующих сеансов В.Т. начала различать ярко освещённые объекты, пока её зрение не вернулось практически в нормальное состояние. Изначально способность пациентки видеть была ограничена только одной из живших в ней личностей. Однако понемногу, при помощи опытного психотерапевта, всё больше её личностей обретали зрение. По рассказам врачей, слепое и зрячее состояние могли меняться за считанные секунды.

«Снегурочка» из Тольятти

Среди нас живут люди, которые отличаются от всех остальных. Например 50-летняя жительница Тольятти, работница детского сада Галина Кутерева. На вид Галине можно дать 20 лет: стройная девичья фигурка и длинные волосы. Лишь при ближайшем рассмотрении заметно, что они седые. Видя, как она идет в мороз по сугробам в сарафане и босоножках, люди пугаются. Водители останавливаются и предлагают обогреть и подвезти. Но Галина Кутерева всегда лишь смеется в ответ. «Мне зимой не холодно, а летом не жарко. Я настоящая Снегурочка». Но так было не всегда: в детстве у Галины была аллергия на мороз, с годами появился целый «букет» заболеваний, но она не сдалась. Галина не только ходит в летней одежде зимой.  У нее целая программа: принимает контрастный душ, сотни шагов проходит на коленках, раздельное питание, раз в неделю Галина совсем не ест, для отдыха организма, не пользуется косметикой, умывается простой водой без моющих средств. Новая система не сразу, но дала положительный результат. Многие болезни просто исчезли. Галина неожиданно стала лучше видеть и сняла очки. Во время прогулки на морозе, как говорит Галина, человек задерживает дыхание, организм сам «подгоняет» свежую кровь к больным органам и лечит их. Сосуды становятся эластичными, и появляется чувство, как будто становишься моложе, когда можешь сделать то, что сейчас уже не под силу. Также нужно не забывать быть добрым по жизни. Нести людям добро и принимать добро. Жить, а не выживать.

Ведущий программы "Обратный отсчет к жизни" (выходит на канале BBC2) Майкл Мозли

Ведущий программы "Обратный отсчет к жизни" (выходит на канале BBC2) Майкл Мозли совершил своего рода удивительное открытие, посетив деревню Лас Салинас в Доминиканской Республике. В частности, он обнаружил детей, которые к 12 годам превратились из девочек в мальчиков, пишет Telegraph. С неконтролируемым изменением пола сталкивается одна из 90 девочек. Столь необычных детей называют machihembras, что означает "вначале женщина, потом мужчина". Журналист рассказал историю одного из местных жителей, который претерпел подобную метаморфозу. 24-летний Джонни до 12 лет был девочкой по имени Фелисита . Парень помнит, как ходил в школу в красном платье, обсуждал со сверстницами "женские" темы. Через какое-то время Фелисите кукол заменили игрушечные пистолеты, компанию девочек - мальчишки. Затем девочка превратилась в юношу во всех смыслах. Джулиан Императо напомнила, что все эмбрионы на начальном этапе формирования имеют только женские половые признаки.
Российская газета - RG.RU

В Доминикане обнаружили детей, у которых к 12 годам меняется пол

(Пол легко меняется если перевести Spirit (часть Души) в Светящемся Шаре человека в другую точку Шара, но надо знать как и в какое место. Опытные шаманы могут это сделать и делают в Доминикане! Ни с какими хромосомами это не связано! Разница между мужчиной и Женщиной не в хромосомах и это обнаружили древние МАГИ, как всегда в обычных статьях много лжи!
У Женщин самая яркая часть - Spirit смотрит наружу Светящегося Шара Энергии Женщины, воспринимая информацию Вселенной через Светящиеся Нити Энергии Баланса, которые проходят через Spirit и которыми пронизана вся Вселенная. У мужчин же - наоборот: самая яркая часть Spirit смотрит внутрь их Светящегося Шара, т.е. в себя, количество Светящихся Нитей, проходящих через Spirit минимально, таким образом диапазон восприятия мужчинами Высших Знаний Вселенной очень ограничен. Женщины воспринимают Космическую информацию с лёгкостью, если они ментально не заблокированы всякой технологией и бесконечным вторжением посторонних в их тела, как сэкс например! Чем больше мужчин на Земле, тем ниже сознание масс и кто-то в этом явно очень заинтересован. ЛМ.)
Ведущий телепрограммы «Обратный отсчет к жизни» на канале BBC2 Майкл Мозли совершил грандиозное открытие в области анатомии человека. 58-летний журналист обнаружил, что жители деревни Лас Салинас, находящейся в Доминиканской Республике, превращаются из девочек в мальчиков к 12 годам. «Геведосе» (Guevedoce) — так назвал Майкл Мозли своих исследуемых, что в переводе на русский означает «пенис в 12 лет» пишет газета Telegraph. По словам Майкла Мозли, в Лас Салинасе одна из 90 девочек после 12 лет сталкивается с изменениями половых признаков. Именно в пубертатном периоде у девочек-подростков вместо вагины начинает формироваться пенис. «Этих детей еще называют machihembras, что означает «вначале женщина, потом мужчина», — рассказывает журналист. После того как они появились на свет, они выглядят как девочки — без яичек и с половыми органами, похожими на вагину. Лишь во время пубертатного периода у них начинают проявляться мужские половые признаки». Майкл Мозли рассказывает в своей передаче «Обратный отсчет к жизни» о 24-летнем юноше из этой деревни —  Джонни. «Он помнит, что его воспитывали как девочку по имени Фелисита и как он ходил в школу в красном платье, — делится ведущий BBC. — До семи лет он всегда играл с другими девочками, но потом что-то стало в нем меняться». По словам самого Джонни, у него резко изменились предпочтения. «В какой-то момент я перестал чувствовать себя комфортно: мне не нравилось носить юбки и проводить время с
девочками. Все, чего мне хотелось, — играть с мальчиками и с игрушечными пистолетами», — рассказывает молодой человек. После того как на его желания начало отвечать и тело, Фелисита в буквальном смысле превратилась в юношу Джонни. После пережитых метаморфоз молодой человек столкнулся с проблемами в школе. «Меня дразнили одноклассники, потому что им было трудно принять тот факт, что я уже не девочка, а мальчик», — делится переживаниями Джонни. До Майкла Мозли этим необычным явлением в доминиканской деревне интересовалась доктор Джулиан Императо — эндокринолог университета Корнелл... в первые недели формирования все эмбрионы имеют только женские половые признаки... Изменение тела у подростков происходило именно в период полового созревания, когда происходит мощная гормональная буря. Из-за активного выброса тестостерона у детей «геведосе» начинали проявляться их исходные половые признаки: девочки превращались в мальчиков, у них появлялись развитые мышцы, яички и пенис... После полового созревания необычные молодые люди отличаются от других мужчин лишь низким ростом, малой предстательной железой и отсутствием обильной растительности на лице. Несмотря на изменения, пережившие трансформацию доминиканцы ведут нормальную для мужчин половую жизнь и могут иметь детей. К слову, Джонни также отметил, что мечтает построить традиционную семью. «После того как я стал мужчиной, у меня было несколько возлюбленных. Я очень хочу встретить девушку, которая бы прошла со мной через радости и трудности и с которой я бы создал крепкую семью», — сказал молодой человек, которого родители воспитывали как девочку Фелиситу.

Женские дуэли: апофеоз жестокости или дело чести?

Традиционно выяснение отношений с помощью оружия считалось неженским занятием. Когда мужчины сходились на дуэли, отстаивая честь дамы, – это было благородным поступком. Но как квалифицировать подобную модель поведения среди женщин? Женские дуэли были хоть и более редкими, но куда более жестокими, чем мужские, – большинство их них оканчивалось не «первой кровью», а смертельным исходом.
Дуэли всегда считались прерогативой мужчин, но женщины часто с этим не соглашались. В 1552 г. в Неаполе Изабелла де Карацци и Диамбра де Петтинелло дрались на дуэли из-за мужчины. Это событие вдохновило испанского художника Хосе де Риберу на создание картины «Женская дуэль». Первым документально зафиксированным поединком между женщинами была дуэль 27 мая 1571 г. В хронике миланского женского монастыря св. Бенедикты этот день ознаменовался прибытием двух знатных сеньорит, попросивших у настоятельницы комнату для совместного молебна. Запершись в комнате, женщины устроили поединок на кинжалах. В итоге обе погибли. Эмиль Байард. Диптих *Дело чести* и *Примирение*. Фотографическая почтовая карточка *Подготовка к дуэли*. Хосе де Рибера. Женская дуэль, 1636. В 1642 г., по легенде, состоялась дуэль из-за герцога Ришелье – будущего кардинала – между маркизой де Несль и графиней де Полиньяк. Дамы сражались за благосклонность герцога на шпагах в Булонском лесу – по крайней мере, так описал этот случай Ришелье в своих записках.
В середине XVII в. во Франции, Англии, Германии, Италии женских дуэлей проходило все больше и больше. Поединки на шпагах или пистолетах завершались летальным исходом в 8 случаях из 10 (для сравнения, в мужских дуэлях – 4 из 10).
Дамы сражались с особой жестокостью – смазывали кончики шпаг ядом или специальным составом, вызывающим жгучую боль при любом прикосновении, стреляли до тех пор, пока одна из них не была убита или тяжело ранена. Как правило, на шпагах дамы дрались топлес – во-первых, платья стесняли движения, во-вторых, считалось опасным попадание в раны кусочков ткани. Короткометражный немой фильм *Дело чести*, 1901. Доменико Мастальо. *Дамская дуэль*. Почтовая карточка, 1905. Почтовая карточка *Женская дуэль в Булонском лесу*.
Женские дуэли были широко распространены во Франции, однако в России XVIII-XIX вв. они тоже случались достаточно часто. Русский бум женских дуэлей начался с восшествием на престол Екатерины II, которая в юности сама дралась на шпагах со свой троюродной сестрой. Только за 1765 г. произошло 20 женских дуэлей. В XIX в. ареной женских поединков становились дамские салоны. Так, в салоне Востроуховой в 1823 г. прошло 17 дуэлей. По воспоминаниям француженки маркизы де Мортене, которая была свидетельницей этих сражений, «русские дамы любят выяснять отношения между собой с помощью оружия. Их дуэли не несут в себе никакого изящества, что можно наблюдать у француженок, а лишь слепую ярость, направленную на уничтожение соперницы». В защиту соотечественниц можно отметить, что летальных исходов у них был намного меньше, чем у кровожадных француженок. Самыми жестокими были женские дуэли на почве ревности. Из-за мужчин дамы дрались на пистолетах, шпагах, перочинных ножах и даже на ногтях! По сути, такие поединки часто становились боями без правил. Один из их современников справедливо заметил: «Если мы примем во внимание большую раздражённость, которая так часто сопутствует отношениям между женщинами, мы удивимся, что они ещё сравнительно редко дерутся на дуэли, которая является клапаном для страстей». Неженские занятия издавна привлекали прекрасную половину человечества и заставляли бросать вызов мужчинам. Женщины-боксеры в истории спорта: от кулачных боев до олимпийского ринга.

The extraordinary case of the Guevedoces

Mike Mosley

(Gender is not difficult to change if you know how to change the position of the Spirit in a Luminous Ball of a Human. That was discovered by ancient sorcerers of Mexico and described in the books Carlos Castaneda. For an experienced sorcerer it is a not a big deal to change gender for another human. Looks like there are such shamans in Domenican Republic. Changing Gender is not connected to chromosomes or any other 'scientific' garbage. There is a great difference in spirituality between a man and a Woman. Because the Spirit's brightest point in the Luminous Ball of a Woman is facing outside of it, facing the Universe, more Luminous Fibers of the Universe go through Spirit's brightest point (or Assemblage Point). That gives more knowledge about the Universe. In man's case his Spirit's brightest point (or Assemblage Point) facing inside of his Luminous Ball, less Luminous Fibers go through Spirit. Their knowledge of the Universe is very restricted, but Women can perceive Universal knowledge with ease, providing they are not blocked by technology or by endless intrusions of all kind into their bodies inc. sex. The more men are on Earth, the less conscious is the Planet. Looks like someone is very interested in it.)
20 September 2015
Catherine and his cousin Carla, Guevedoces in the Dominican Republic. The discovery of a small community in the Dominican Republic, where some males are born looking like girls and only grow penises at puberty, has led to the development of a blockbuster drug that has helped millions of people, writes Michael Mosley. Johnny lives in a small town in the Dominican Republic where he, and others like him, are known as "Guevedoces", which effectively translates as "penis at twelve". We came across Johnny when we were filming for a new BBC Two series Countdown to Life, which looks at how we develop in the womb and how those changes, normal and abnormal, impact us later in life. Like the other Guevedoces, Johnny was brought up as a girl because he had no visible testes or penis and what appeared to be a vagina. It is only when he approached puberty that his penis grew and testicles descended. Johnny, once known as Felicita, remembers going to school in a little red dress, though he says he was never happy doing girl things.
Michael Mosley
Watch the second episode of Countdown to Life: The Extraordinary Making of You, Against the Odds, on BBC Two at 21:00 on Monday 21 September, or catch up afterwards on iPlayer.
"I never liked to dress as a girl and when they bought me toys for girls I never bothered playing with them - when I saw a group of boys I would stop to play ball with them." When he became obviously male he was taunted at school, and responded with his fists. "They used to say I was a devil, nasty things, bad words and I had no choice but to fight them because they were crossing the line."
We also filmed Carla, who at the age of seven is on the brink of changing into Carlos. His mother has seen the change coming for quite a while. "When she turned five I noticed that whenever she saw one of her male friends she wanted to fight with him. Her muscles and chest began growing. You could see she was going to be a boy. I love her however she is. Girl or boy, it makes no difference."
So why does it happen? Well, one of the first people to study this unusual condition was Dr Julianne Imperato-McGinley, from Cornell Medical College in New York. In the 1970s she made her way to this remote part of the Dominican Republic, drawn by extraordinary reports of girls turning into boys. When she got there she found the rumours were true. She did lots of studies on the Guevedoces (including what must have been rather painful biopsies of their testicles) before finally unravelling the mystery of what was going on...Imperato-McGinley's thorough medical investigations showed that in most cases their new, male equipment seems to work fine and that most Guevedoces live out their lives as men, though some go through an operation and remain female... these boys, despite being brought up as girls, almost all showed strong heterosexual preferences...This is still a controversial topic and one I explore later in the film when I meet Mati, who decided from the earliest age that though "he" looked like a boy, Mati was really a girl. As for Johnny, since he developed male genitalia he has had a number of short term girlfriends, but he is still looking for love. "I'd like to get married and have children, a partner who will stand by me through good and bad," he sighs wistfully.

В Нидерландах за уроки вождения можно будет расплатиться сексом
Правительство Нидерландов признало законным оплату сексом уроков вождения. По мнению представителей власти, такой обмен считается нормальным. Несмотря на то, что чиновники назвали оплату "натурой" нежелательной, они заявили, что этот метод рассчитаться с преподавателем не противоречит законодательству. Власти Голландии уверены, что такой обмен ничем не отличается от объявлений разнорабочих в интернете, которые предлагают свою помощь в обмен на какие-либо другие услуги Единственное требование, которое озвучили члены правительства – все участники сделки должны быть старше 18 лет. У правительства Нидерландов нет информации о том, как часто в таких случаях предметом обмена становились интим-услуги. Тем не менее, министры уверены, что подобные сделки полностью соответствуют установленным нормам права. При этом неизвестно, распространяется ли это заявление на деятельность других частных преподавателей.

Секретные территории. Битвы древних богинь
Структура общества слонов может посоревноваться по сложности с человеческой (матриархат, ЛМ)
Научные специалисты выяснили, что структура общества слонов является уникальной и сложной. По мнению ученых, связь животных является очень непростой и чем-то напоминает человеческое общество. Иерархия при этом сохраняется даже если слоны пожилого возраста умирают. Согласно известным данным, за два года в период с 2010 по 2012 года браконьерами было убито около ста тысяч африканских слонов. Главная цель охотников была заполучить бивни. Старым слонам отдавали преимущество, так как их бивни являются самыми крупными и ценными. Исследователи смогли узнать, что несмотря на массовое уничтожение животных, особенно особей женского пола в пожилом возрасте, иерархия всё равно оставалась прежней и главенство передается от умершей матери к дочерям. Ученые считают, что данная система дает возможность слонам приспосабливаться к модификациям их состава. Таким образом данная структура общества позволяет животным выживать даже в непростых для них условиях.

Онна-бугэйся: Женщины самураи - Japanise Women-Warriors
Собственно в японском языке нет такого слова как женщина-самурай. Потому что определение "самурай” подразумевает только мужчину, без вариантов. Слово буси – также содержит в себе иероглиф "мужчина”. Поэтому применительно к женщинам применяется бугэйся (武芸者) — «человек боевых искусств», т.е. онна бугейся (онна – женщина).
Онна-бугэйся — женщина, принадлежащая к сословию самураев в феодальной Японии и обучившаяся навыкам владения оружием.
Как это ни странно , но в средние века роль женщины была доминирующей в управлении делами клана. Да что там средние века, достаточно вспомнить матриархальный миф о Солнечной Богине – Аматэрасу, в котором явно подчёркивается её главенство над всеми богами японского пантеона, а также равенство в бою богини Идзанаги со своим братом-мужем Идзанами. Влияние этого древнего матриархата прослеживается во всём культе солнца, который был женским по своей природе в первоначальной японской концепции.
Даже первые хроники японской истории наполнены описаниями подвигов воинственных цариц, лично водивших свои войска на штурм вражеских укреплений в Ямато или через пролив в Корею. Со временем растущее влияние конфуцианства заметно ослабило доминирующее положение женщины, оградив ее ограничениями различного рода. Но эти ограничения далеко не всегда принимались кротко и смиренно, в чем пытаются нас уверить историки более позднего времени. В период Хэйан женщин, возможно, и нельзя было встретить на поля боя, но они внесли немалый вклад в культурные достижения своей эпохи.
По Бусидо первым долгом женщины-воина считалось служение своему супругу. Кроме того в ней ценились такие качества характера, которые не во всех странах приняло считать достоинством у женщин. Бусидо восхвалял женщин-воинов, «которые были способны подняться выше несовершенства и недостатков, свойственных их полу, и проявить героическую силу духа, которая могла бы быть достойной самых храбрых и благородных мужчин». Поэтому с самого раннего детства дочерей самураев заставляли вырабатывать в себе выдержку и стойкость духа.  Из оружия женщин учили пользоваться главным образом нагинатой (искусство нагинатадзюцу), а также копьём яри, цепями и веревками. Вместо катаны они имели танто. «Обычным для копья местом хранения было место над дверью в жилище, так как таким образом женщина получала возможность использовать его против атакующих врагов или любого незваного гостя, проникшего в дом. Но обучение Онна-бугэйся владению оружием преследовало еще одну цель — они могли применять эти навыки во время войны. Но все же согласно Бусидо умение защитить себя для женщины-самурая считалось более важным. Женщины-воина, не имевшие своего господина, были вынуждены быть сами себе телохранителями. С оружием в руках женщина-воин защищала свою неприкосновенность также отважно, как ее муж сражался за своего господина. Кроме того, умение владеть оружием женщине-воину было чрезвычайно важным для воспитания необходимых качеств характера у детей.
В день достижения девушкой-воином совершеннолетия (в 12 лет) ей согласно ритуалу вручался женский нож «кайкен», который исходя из ситуации мог направляться ею в тело противника или в себя.  Кайкэн, который подобно вакидзаси воинов-мужчин, всегда находился при ней – в рукаве или за поясом. Кайкэном можно наносить как молниеносные удары в ближнем бою, так и метать его со смертоносной скоростью, также кайкэн «принимал участие» в совершении ритуального самоубийства («женский» вариант этого действа носит название дзигай и был распространён так же широко, как и сэппуку у мужчин). Причем, женщины не вспарывали свой живот подобно мужчинам, а перерезали себе горло. Ещё одним строгим правилом ритуала было обязательное связывание собственных лодыжек, дабы и после смерти выглядеть «пристойно». Целомудренность женщины-воина была настолько важна, что ценилась выше жизни.

Tomoe Gozen (巴 御前). Онна бугэйся (女武芸者), наложница или жена Минамото-но Ёсинака.
Девочек из клана самураев с детства обучали серьезным боевым искусствам: владению нагината (лёгкой алебардой), метанию ножей и дротиков, стрельбе из лука, приемам дзю-дзюцу. Так что самурайские женщины при необходимости могли дать отпор насильнику или напавшему на ее дом врагу. Неожиданно для напавшего упакованная в кимоно «куколка» вдруг принимала боевую стойку, изящные шпильки из ее прически превращались в метательные ножи, веер ощетинивался стальными иглами, а в маленькой изящной ручке невесть откуда появлялся сверкающий кинжал.
Но были в истории Японии и женщины-воины, принимавшие непосредственное участие в боевых действиях. И среди нихТомоэ Gozen (巴御前) ( 1157 – 1247 ) наложница или жена Минамото-но Есинака, одного из военначальников во времена войны Гэмпэй. Наиболее известным сражением которого является сражение при Курикара, где Тайра впервые получили сокрушительный разгром.
Томоэ прославилась своей храбростью и силой. Полагают, что она выжила после войны Гэмпэй (1180-1185).

Japanise Women-Warriors

"Хэйкэ моноготари” так описывает "онна bugeisha” женщину-воина:
"Особенно хороша была Томоэ — белолица, с длинными волосами, писаная красавица! Была она искусным стрелком из лука, славной воительницей, одна равна тысяче! Верхом ли, в пешем ли строю — с оружием в руках не страшилась она ни демонов, ни богов, отважно скакала на самом резвом коне, спускалась в любую пропасть, а когда начиналась битва, надевала тяжелый боевой панцирь, опоясывалась мечом, брала в руки мощный лук и вступала в бой в числе первых, как самый храбрый, доблестный воин! Не раз гремела слава о ее подвигах, никто не мог сравниться с нею в отваге.”
Томоэ гозэн единым махом срубила голову Моросигэ Онда и швырнула её на землю. Потом сбросила боевые доспехи и пустила коня на восток.
Томоэ сопровождала Ёсинаку практически во всех сражениях. Но в последнем при Удзигава, поблизости от Киото, Ёсинака велел женщине убегать, так как не хотел умирать в окружении "баб” или просто хотел, чтобы она спаслась: "— Ты — женщина, беги же прочь отсюда, беги скорей куда глаза глядят! А я намерен нынче пасть в бою. Но если будет грозить мне плен, я сам покончу с жизнью и не хочу, чтоб люди смеялись надо мной: мол, Ёсинака в последний бой тащил с собою бабу! — так говорил он, а Томоэ все не решалась покинуть Ёсинаку, но он был непреклонен. «О, если бы мне встретился сейчас какой-нибудь достойный противник! — подумала Томоэ. — Пусть господин в последний раз увидел бы, как я умею биться!» — и, с этой мыслью остановив коня, стала она поджидать врагов. В это время внезапно появился прославленный силач Моросигэ Онда, уроженец земли Мусаси, и с ним дружина из тридцати вассалов. Томоэ на скаку вклинилась в их ряды, поравняла коня с конем Онды, крепко-накрепко с ним схватилась, стащила с коня, намертво прижала к передней луке своего седла, единым махом срубила голову и швырнула ее на землю. Потом сбросила боевые доспехи и пустила коня на восток.”
- Однажды, девушку-(Онна-бугэйся) захватили в плен и, понимая опасность насилия со стороны грубой солдатни, она пустилась на хитрость и заявила, что подчинится им, если они сначала позволят ей написать письмо своей сестре. Дописав письмо она внезапно бросилась на ближайшего из солдат, выхватила у него оружие и заколола себя, спасая таким образом честь. В письме оказались строки прощальных стихов: «На небосклоне юная луна, Из опасения, что блеск ее затмят, Бегущие из темноты к ней облака, Стремительно бежит». Когда возникала реальная угроза попасть в плен к врагу, они не только решительно принимали смерть от рук родственников мужского пола или их командиров, но и сами убивали мужчин, если по какой-то причине они не могли или не желали совершить ритуальный акт и не щадили в такой ситуации ни себя, ни своих детей. Один из самых древних эпизодов, связанный с принятием и исполнением такого решения, можно найти в старинном сказании о доме Тайра. В части, описывающей морское сражение у Данноура Нииодоно, бабушка малолетнего императора Антоку, столкнувшись с угрозой попасть в плен к воинам Минамото, прижала ребенка к себе и сбросилась с обрыва. За ней последовали её придворные дамы, включая мать императора, которую единственную насильно удалось спасти. Нельзя сказать, что стойкость духа и владение боевыми искусствами были единственными достоинствами таких женщин. Наряду с владением оружием девушки обучались изящным искусствам – танцам, музыке, сложению стихов, каллиграфии, икебане. Умение петь и танцевать не предназначалось для широкой публики в отличие от искусства гейш, и если какая-то из жен воинов и прославилась своими талантами, то только благодаря гостеприимству дома.

Накано Такэко — женщина-самурай, погибшая при защите замка Айдзу-Вакамацу в войне Босин. 1868г.
Онна бугейся Накано Такэко ( 中野 竹子, 1847  – 10 октября 1868), старшая дочь чиновника княжества Айдзу Накано Хэйная (中野 平内), получила не только гуманитарное образование, но и приобрела навыки в боевых искусствах, хорошо владела нагинатой. Настолько хорошо, что работала инструктором боевых искусств в 1860-е годы. В битве за Айдзу (1868 год, про те времена был фильм "Последний самурай”) она сформировала неофициальный "женский отряд”.  В ходе сражения против сил Императорской армии, Такэко получила пулевое ранение в грудь и попросила свою сестру Юко отрезать ей голову и похоронить её, чтобы она не досталась врагу в качестве трофея. Голова Такэко покоится под сосной возле храма Хокайдзи (посёлок Айдзубангэ префектуры Фукусима). А в городе Айдзувакамацу с тех пор ежегодно проводится осенний фестиваль «Айдзу Мацури» (会津まつり), где главным действующим лицом являются одетые в хакама (штаны) девушки с белыми повязками на головах, изображающие Такэко и её воинов.
Осенний фестиваль Айдзу Мацури в городе Айдзувакамацу. Одетые в хакама девушки с белыми повязками на головах, изображают Такэко и её воинов.
В основном, овладевать искусством игры на музыкальных инструментах и пением надо было для того, чтобы помочь расслабиться уставшим после службы мужьям и отцам. Немаловажным аспектом была и психология в музыке, ибо самая безупречная гармония звуков будет звучать механически, если в ней не участвует душа исполнительницы, которая пребывает в ладу с самой собой. Музыка и танцы должны были смягчать характер самураев, отвлекая их от повседневной суеты. Ценность женщины-самурая определялась двумя сферами деятельности: полем битвы и семейным очагом. Большинство японских женщин не стремились стать социально значимыми фигурами, поэтому естественно, что дом привлекал их больше. Пока мужья и отцы сражались или несли службу, на плечи женщин ложилась ответственность за управление домом, воспитание детей и их защиту. Искусство ведения домашнего хозяйства требовало тщательного изучения, так как с детства женщин-самураев учили делать все с душой, а самозабвенное служение очагу считалось честью. Они предпочитали роль матери и жены, за которую и заслуживали уважение и почет в обществе.

Japanise Women-Warriors

Однако если женщина замечала, что самурай больше беспокоится об ее участи, она должна была напоминать супругу о его долге перед господином и принимать необходимые меры, чтобы напоминать ему об обязанности служения. При служении дому от женщины требовалась вся ее самоотверженность в оказании помощи мужу, которая так и называлась – «найдзё» — внутренняя помощь. Так реализовывалась цепь самоотверженного служения самурайского сословия: жена служила мужу, муж служил господину, который, в свою очередь, служил Небесам. При необходимости самурайские женщины брали на себя обязанности по осуществлению мести, которая считалась единственно возможной реакцией (согласно японскому толкованию конфуцианства) на оскорбление или убийство господина. Даже в течение застойного периода сёгуната Токугавы женщины строго соблюдали принцип безусловной преданности своему клану – порой даже строже, чем мужчины. На протяжении веков самурайская женщина оставалась грозной фигурой, консервативной во взглядах и действиях, преданной этическим нормам своего клана – как их сути, так и внешним проявлениям.

Japan reported to be proposing 'comfort women' solution
25 Dec 2015
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives at his official residence in Tokyo (24 December 2015). Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is reported to be eager to find a definitive solution to the "comfort women" question . Japan is reported to have proposed setting up a government fund to resolve a longstanding disagreement with South Korea about sex slaves during World War Two. The "comfort women" were forced to work in Japanese military brothels. PM Shinzo Abe has instructed his foreign minister to sortout the issue during a visit to Seoul next week, Japanese media has reported. The issue has dogged relations with South Korea for decades. South Korea has previously maintained that Japanese apologies do not go far enough and has been critical of what it sees as Japan's reluctance to atone for its brutal wartime past. But relations between the two counties have improved recently after they agreed to accelerate talks. South Korean former 'comfort woman' Lee Yong-Soo (C), who was forcibly recruited to work in Japanese wartime military brothels, and her supporters demonstrate near the Japanese embassy in Seoul on 30 October 2015. Former South Korean comfort women stage frequent demonstrations outside Seoul's Japanese embassy South Korean President Park Geun-hye, right, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pose for photos before their meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, 2 November 2015. Relations between Japan and South Korea have improved recently after they agreed to accelerate talks . Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida was reported on Friday to have arranged a surprise visit to South Korea in the hope of finding an early resolution. He was speaking after Japanese media reports said that Mr Abe had instructed him to hold ministerial talks in Seoul as early as Monday to resolve the question. Any fund will follow a similar one set up 1995 which ended after a decade. At that time it was made clear that the money was raised from donations, not from the Japanese government.
One proposal reported by the Nikkei Asian Review would involve Japan providing 10 years' worth of aid - more than 100 million yen ($83m; £55m). It reports that South Korea is pushing for an apology from Mr Abe that includes recognition of Japan's responsibility. The website says that some in the Japanese government support a plan which would entail Mr Abe sending letters to "comfort women" which will allude to Japanese "responsibility" and referring to an "apology". It has also been suggested that Japan's ambassador in Seoul may meet former "comfort women". In return, Japan seeks a guarantee that any conclusion reached will be the final word on the issue. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Up to 200,000 women are estimated to have been sexually enslaved by Japan during WW2, many of them Korean. Other women came from China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan. Japan has apologised in the past for the "pain and suffering" of the women, but South Korea wants a stronger apology and compensation for victims.

B Южной Корее не хотят забывать о сексуальном рабстве времен японской оккупации
26 декабря 2015
Корейские девушки мобилизованные на принудительную проституцию во время японской оккупации. Памятник жертвам системы принудительной проституции при японской армии во время Второй мировой войны в Сеуле могут перенести от стен японского посольства в другое место. Вопрос будет решен после переговоров глава МИД Южной Кореи и Японии, которые планируется провести до конца этого года. В ноябре на встрече лидеров двух стран было решено достичь согласия по проблеме «женщин для утешения». Япония готова создать фонд в размере 100 миллионов иен (830 тысяч долларов) для выплат компенсаций женщинам, пострадавшим от системы принудительной проституции, но взамен требует демонтажа памятника, так как считает его нарушением Венской конвенции о дипломатических отношениях. Против переноса памятника выступила южнокорейская общественная организация, защищающая права женщин, рекрутированных в трудовые отряды во время войны, а также тех, кого принуждали к занятиям проституцией для «утешения» японских солдат и офицеров. Проблема принудительной проституции в оккупированных Японией странах во время Второй мировой войны стала причиной охлаждения между Южной Кореей и Японией. Южная Корея настаивает на «восстановлении чести» в виде денежных компенсаций, Япония же считает вопрос закрытым, поскольку уже извинилась и выплатила 500 миллионов долларов по двустороннему соглашению 1965 года, подписание которого декларировало решение всех прошлых проблем в отношениях.

The Indian Women, who took on a multinational and won
19 Oct 2015
Tea workers in India. The women have taken on not only the company that employs them but also the trade unions supposed to represent them . This is the story of an extraordinary uprising, a movement of 6,000 barely educated women labourers who took on one of the most powerful companies in the world. In a country plagued by sexism they challenged the male-dominated world of trade unions and politics, refusing to allow men to take over their campaign. And what's more, they won. You may well have enjoyed the fruits of their labour. The women are tea pickers from the beautiful south Indian state of Kerala. They work for a huge plantation company, Kanan Devan Hills Plantations, which is part-owned and largely controlled by the Indian multinational, Tata, the owner of Tetley Tea. The spark that ignited the protest was a decision to cut the bonus paid to tea pickers, but its roots go much deeper than that.
Going solo
Tea workers in India are not well treated. When I investigated the industry in Assam last month I found living and working conditions so bad, and wages so low, that tea workers and their families were left malnourished and vulnerable to fatal illnesses. It seems conditions in Kerala are not much different. Part of the women's complaint is that they live in one-bed huts without toilets and other basic amenities and, while they earn significantly more than the tea workers in Assam, they say the 230 rupees (£2.3; $3.50) they are paid for a day's work is half what a daily wage labourer in Kerala would get. Women tea workers in India.
But when, in early September, the women in Kerala demanded the bonus be reinstated - along with a hike in daily wages and better living conditions - it was not just a challenge to the company, that employs them, but also to the trade unions, that are supposed to represent them. The women workers say the male trade union leaders are in cahoots with the company management, denying women their entitlements while ensuring they get the plum jobs themselves. When tea prices collapsed a few years back, and some estate owners abandoned their plantations, the women argue that trade union leaders always managed to keep their jobs. They also say that the trade unions haven't done enough to stop their men from drinking away their earnings without regard for their children's education or the medical needs of their families. And they showed that they could launch an effective protest without the help of the trade unions.
'Women's Unity'
When 6,000 women occupied the main road to the headquarters of the plantation company it was organised by the women themselves, most of whom have no history of union agitation. They called themselves "Pempilai Orumai", or women's unity. In effect the women laid siege to the Munnar, one of Kerala's most popular tourist destinations. Trade and tourism were brought to a near standstill. Many slogans were directed squarely at the union leaders. "We pick the tea and carry the bags on our shoulders, you carry off the money bags," read one. "We live in tin sheds, you enjoy bungalows," said another. Women tea workers listen as an unseen NGO worker speaks. A group of semi-literate women had taken on the most powerful interests in the state and won. When male trade union leaders tried to join the protest they were chased away. The women attacked one former trade union leader with their sandals. He had to be rescued by the police. In another incident they tore down the flag poles outside the trade union offices. They also saw off local politicians who wanted to be seen offering their support. The women insisted they would continue the protest until their demands were met. At first the plantation company was defiant but, after nine days of protest and marathon negotiations overseen by the chief minister of the state, it gave in. It was a stunning victory: a group of semi-literate women had taken on the most powerful interests in the state and won. The women had represented the workforce at the talks and forced management to accept their demand to bring back the 20% bonus. Meanwhile the male trade union leaders had to swallow their pride and sign the deal the women had negotiated. Nothing to lose
But the battle isn't over yet. The issue of the pay rise was to be negotiated separately and, when the women's demand for an increase in wages wasn't met, the unions launched an indefinite campaign to raise rates from 232 rupees to 500 rupees a day. In part this was an attempt to seize the initiative back, following the success of the women's campaign. Women tea workers balance bags of plucked leaves on their heads. "We won't allow anyone to exploit us. Enough is enough." The women have refused to be part of the union effort and launched their own independent demand for higher wages. Earlier this month some male union activists are alleged to have attacked the women's demonstration by throwing rocks. Six people suffered minor injuries. But the women are determined to continue. "We have nothing to lose", Lissy Sunny, one of the leaders of Pempilai Orumai, told the Indian news website Catch. "Hunger and suffering are part of our lives. We don't care even if we starve to death. But we won't allow anyone to exploit us. Enough is enough."

'Too hot to be an engineer' - women mark Ada Lovelace Day

13 Oct 2015
 Thousands of women in tech-related jobs have shared pictures...On Ada Lovelace Day, four female engineers from around the world share their experiences of working in male-dominated professions. Now in its sixth year, the annual celebration of women working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) is named after the woman now regarded as the world's first computer programmer. Ada Lovelace worked with the inventor Charles Babbage on his "analytical engine" creation in the 1850s - a mechanical computing device that he designed but never built. This year is also the 200th anniversary of the the birth of Ada Lovelace, daughter of mathematician Annabella Milbanke and the poet Lord Byron. Isis Anchalee holding up a sign which says "I think I'm kicking ass" - Isis Anchalee, software engineer, San Francisco. When Isis Anchalee's employer OneLogin asked her to take part in its recruitment campaign, she didn't rush to consult the selfie-loving Kardashian sisters for styling tips. "I was wearing very minimal make-up. I didn't brush my hair that day," she said. "They just asked for a photo of my face alongside what I really enjoy about working at the company." But the resulting image of Ms Anchalee created a social media storm when it appeared on Bart, the San Francisco metro. Lots of people questioned whether she really was an engineer.
"There were two other ads that went up that had two male co-workers - one of them was wearing a large black hat and a shirt that said 'hacker'," Ms Anchalee said. "I thought that one might have been a little controversial but it was mine that people seemed to care about." Feeling "helpless", she wrote a blog post and launched the hashtag #ilooklikeanengineer - inviting other engineers to share their own portraits on Twitter, holding up a sign bearing the phrase.
"It was not just limited to women - it resonates with every single person who doesn't fit with what the stereotype should look like," she said. Thousands of people have taken part, and other professions including surgeons and physicists have also adopted the idea.
Isis Anchalee, who taught herself to code at the age of eight, is no stranger to her appearance and career choice causing confusion.
"You're way too hot to be an engineer," said a man in the lift of her block of flats when she wore a T-shirt from program-sharing service Github. An awkward attempt at flattery, perhaps?
"It definitely was not a compliment," she countered.
"I was dumbfounded. What do you say to something like that?
"In a perfect world I would love for there not to be a need for me to stand out as a female engineer - but we have to work really hard.
"I've ended up where I'm at and I think I'm kicking ass."
Sovita Dahl talking to school girls at Beyond the Four Walls event in Nepal
"I chose my career against marriage" - Sovita Dahal, software test engineer, Kathmandu
"My parents, my brother, my community, all were against me," said Sovita Dahal of her decision to pursue a career in technology.
"I was going against traditional things."
Nepalese women are still expected to marry at the age of about 21, go to live with their husbands and raise a family, she explained.
But Ms Dahal was determined to follow a different path.
"In my schooldays I was fascinated by electronic equipment like motors, transformers and LED lights. Later on this enthusiasm became my passion and ultimately my career," she said
There were just three women among the 35 students on her university course. One left, one got married and only Sovita Dahal finished her degree.
"After my high school [my family] didn't like me to enter the tech field - parents think it is only for boys, not for girls." Fortunately she was able to win her family round. "It was very, very, difficult to convince them. But now they are very proud of me, they respect my decision and they also encourage other girls to take these kind of studies. "I have no family [of my own] - I would not have had time to pursue my career. I chose my career against marriage."
Roma Agrawa
Don't say you're bad at maths - Roma Agrawal, structural engineer, London. Roma Agrawal has worked as a structural engineer for 10 years, and was part of the team that designed London skyscraper The Shard.
"When I first started out, I would sometimes go to construction sites and there would be pictures of topless women in the cabins," she said. Fortunately Ms Agrawal was not deterred by the choice of wallpaper.
"You see much less of it nowadays. There are lot more women on site now." But the argument that women have a biological struggle with maths and science subjects is infuriating, Ms Agrawal said. "There is no proof that engineering isn't for women because of some biological reason. When people say, 'Women are not naturally as good as maths and science,' nothing can make me more upset because it's simply not true."
Ms Agrawal would like to see more parents and teachers supporting the message that engineering is an achievable career for girls - but also believes that Britons in particular have an attitude problem to address as well.
"People easily say, 'I'm terrible at maths,' or 'I'm awful at numbers.' If you said that kind of thing in India people would look at you funny," she said. "It's like saying, 'Oh, I can't read,' and being proud of that fact."
Dolphin Guan
"Women have blue-sky thinking" - Dolphin Guan, industrial designer, Shenzhen. For Dolphin Guan, currently working with mobile phone company Seeed Studio in China, the difference between men and women is very much still an issue.
"Women have blue-sky thinking, men have precise thinking with logic," she said. "So in our society, most of the females work on civilian [jobs], and men work in technology. But as technology is advancing, and everything becomes possible, it is very good that women [can] be part of it." Ms Guan finished university last year. She studied computer science with 40 students, of whom just four or five were women - but in her industrial design class the gender ration was 50:50.
"These years in China, I can see more and more women working in tech/engineering jobs," she said. "And a good thing about being a tech/engineer is when we have a good idea, we are able to make it happen."

India rape: Arrests over rapes of children in Delhi
18 October 2015
Protesters confront police outside the house of a two-and-a-half year rape victim. Protesters confronted police outside the two-and-a-half year old's house. Two 17-year-old boys have been arrested in connection with the rape of a two-and-a-half year old girl in west Delhi, Indian police said. The pair were detained after police questioned residents of the neighbourhood where the girl was raped. Separately three men have been arrested over the gang rape of a five-year-old in the east of the Indian capital. The incidents sparked fresh outrage over India's perceived inability to combat sexual violence. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has accused the federal government, which controls policing, of not doing enough to protect children. The two-and-a-half year old was abducted on Friday and later found dumped in a park, bleeding profusely. Activists press of better security for women and children in Delhi. Residents and activists accuse the police of not doing enough to protect women and children. Both of the accused are known to the girl's family, police said. She and the five-year-old, who police said was lured to a neighbour's house before being raped, are undergoing medical treatment but are believed to be out of danger. The incidents come a week after a four-year-old was found near a railway track after being raped and slashed with a sharp object. The gang rape and murder of a student in 2012 in Delhi led to protests and new anti-rape laws in the country. However, brutal sexual attacks against women and children continue to be reported across the country. Delhi alone had more than 2,000 rapes reported in 2014.

Why I stormed the red carpet at the premiere of the Suffragette film'

11  Aug 2015
Feminist protesters took centre stage alongside stars of the film Suffragette in central London on Wednesday night. Scenes from real life mirrored those in the drama, which stars Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep and Anne-Marie Duff.
Women from a group called Sisters Uncut said they were angry at what they describe as "cuts to domestic violence services" as they jumped over the barriers and lay on the carpet. They lay there while the stars gave interviews to reporters.
Janelle from Sisters Uncut told Newsbeat what happened. Zalika, Reisha, Tasha and Lin. Protest at club rejecting 'dark and overweight' women. Why Janelle took part, in her own words. "When two women are killed a week by a partner or ex-partner the struggle for women's liberation is definitely not over. We came to the Suffragette premiere tonight to draw attention to this fact because not enough people realise the absolute devastation that these austerity cuts to domestic violence services are causing. I mean dead women cannot vote. We were very peaceful when we got onto the red carpet, all we did was climb over the barriers get onto the red carpet and peacefully disrupt the premiere. I think the security guards were a little bit confused as to what to do because all they did was kind of stand there. But I mean we were not going to move. They came across and said, 'Girls, girls, girls'. We said, 'We are not girls, we are women' and we stayed there.
"The Suffragette film celebrates a struggle for women's liberation that happened around 100 years ago but the fight for women's liberation is definitely not over. All we wanted to do was to disrupt the premiere and highlight the cuts and I think we
did that successfully. We're really exhilarated with the response and we're really happy that we have got lot of attention for this. We have contacted the government to respond to the group's claims and await a response.

Protesters target Suffragette film premiere red carpet
15 Aug 2015
Protesters angry at what they describe as "cuts to domestic violence services" have targeted the Suffragette film premiere in London. Some lay down on the red carpet to make their point. The action was led by a feminist group called Sisters Uncut. Members say they are using "suffragette methods to declare that, as long as violence against women continues, the battle for women's liberation has not yet been won". They say "dead women can't vote". It argues government "austerity has reduced the availability of refuges, benefits, social housing and legal aid". Janelle Brown from Sisters Uncut said: "We believe that all women facing domestic violence should be able to access support and safety." Shantha Masters, a support worker from a specialist South Asian refuge, said: "I am here because I am angry about cuts to specialist services. "But I am also here to represent - to show that all women of all backgrounds have rights and if they are not met we will take action until they are."
The film they have targeted stars Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep, who hadn't arrived when the protest started. It is about members of the British women's suffragette movement which campaigned for British women to get the right to vote in the late 19thand early 20th Century. Romola Garai speaking to reporters with the protest in the background. Romola Garai is also in the movie. She said: "I haven't spoken to them or seen their demands but I'm happy to see the suffrage movement is alive and happening."
Helena Bonham Carter told Newsbeat she'd never had a protest happen at one of her film premieres before but thought it was "fantastic". "I think this is exactly what our film is about," Helena said. "It's about if you've got something that you feel
passionately about and feel that there's an injustice being done, to protest and to be heard."
Helena says she didn't see how security dealt with the protestors but added: "Hopefully a lot better than the way police dealt with the suffragettes." The protesters left saying they had made their point. Lauren, who is 20 and from Denver, Colorado, was watching the stars turn up and told Newsbeat what happened. "All of a sudden people jumped these fences and started lying down and chanting. I thought I was going to get trampled but it was actually really exciting to watch."
Previously Women's Aid, which is not part of the protest, told Newsbeat that one in six dedicated domestic violence refuges in the UK have been closed in the last 10 years due to funding cuts. However, the government has responded by saying it's committed to protecting women, with a new "controlling behaviour" offence which carries a five year prison sentence. There is also a scheme, introduced last year, allowing women to check their partner's criminal history and a £40m budget to tackle violence against women and girls. A government spokesman said: "Violence against women and girls in any form is unacceptable and the government has shown its commitment to ending it."

Females being forced into Prostitution

The women vanishing without a trace

14 Sep 2015
Thousands of women and girls disappear in Mexico every year - many are never seen alive again. When one couple realised their daughter was missing, they knew they didn't have long to find her. Elizabeth realised something was terribly wrong within 15 minutes of her teenage daughter, Karen, disappearing. "I just knew it, I had an anguish that I'd never felt before. I searched the streets, called friends and family, but no-one had seen her," she says. "She'd gone to the public toilets with nothing - no money, no mobile phone, no clothes… We thought she'd been kidnapped."
Karen disappeared in April 2013 when she was 14 - one of thousands of girls to have gone missing in recent years in Mexico state - a sprawling administrative region which wraps around the capital, Mexico City. A staggering 1,238 women and girls were reported missing in the state in 2011 and 2012 - the most recent figures available. Of these, 53% were girls under the age of 17. No-one knows how many have been found dead or alive, or are still missing. This is the most dangerous Mexican state to be a woman - at least 2,228 were murdered here in the past decade. A pair of girl's shoes with flowers, a message that reads 'Where are they? We ask for justice' and a candle, placed by relatives of missing people at El Angel square on July 10, 2011 in Mexico CityImage copyright Getty Images Image caption A pair of girl's shoes with the message: "Where are they? We ask for justice". Elizabeth reported her daughter missing after three hours of frantic searching. But in Mexico police will not open a missing person's file until someone has been gone for 72 hours, not even for a child. So, Elizabeth and her husband, Alejandro, started their own investigation, which began by going through their daughter's social network accounts. "When we got into her Facebook account, we realised that she had a profile that we didn't know about, with more than 4,000 friends. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but there was one man who caught our attention. His was photographed with girls wearing very few clothes and big guns, and was friends with lots of girls about the same age as our daughter," says Elizabeth.
"This man rang alarm bells: he talked like a drug trafficker, about territory, about travelling, that he was coming to see her soon. He'd been in contact with her a few days before she disappeared, and had given her a smartphone so they could stay in contact, and we hadn't known," says Alejandro. Each year it's estimated that 20,000 people are trafficked in Mexico, according to the International Organization for Migration. The majority are forced into prostitution. Authorities say a growing number are being targeted online. Karen's family realised they didn't have long to stop her being taken out of the country. They put pressure on the police to issue an "amber alert", and plastered official missing posters at every bus terminal and toll booth around Mexico City. They managed to get their daughter's case on television and radio news bulletins. Their tenacity paid off. Sixteen days after Karen disappeared, she was abandoned at a bus terminal, along with another girl who was registered missing in a different state. The publicity had spooked their trafficker who was planning to take them to New York. He has never been caught. "This man had promised her travel, money, a music career and fame. He manipulated her really well, and in her innocence she didn't understand the magnitude of the danger she'd been in," says Alejandro. Karen's parents' folderImage caption Elizabeth and Alejandro have a folder full of details of missing girls
At first, Karen was angry with her parents for ruining what she believed could have been her big break in the music business. So Elizabeth took her to a conference where she met girls who had been trafficked.
"It was when she heard their stories and realised what hell they'd been through that she finally realised the danger she'd been in. She went to the conference as one girl, and came back another," says Elizabeth.
Since Karen's return, Elizabeth and Alejandro have helped reunite 21 desperate families with their children. But they have a folder full of photos of others, some as young as five, who remain missing. They drove me to the other side of Mexico state to meet one of them, the family of 17-year-old Syama Paz Lemus who disappeared in October 2014 - she was targeted online too. The journey took us along the Grand Canal which runs through the state - the putrid smell of its filthy water is overpowering. Hundreds of bone fragments were pulled out of the canal last September, and so far several missing girls have been identified. There is no national database of missing people in Mexico which makes the identification of remains difficult. The Grand Canal in the state of MexicoImage copyright AFP Image caption Remains of several missing girls have been found in the Grand Canal.While driving, Elizabeth received a distressing call requesting help in finding two sisters, aged 14 and three, who had disappeared while playing outside a few days earlier. The family sounded desperate, and Elizabeth promised to raise the alarm. But this time she was unable to do much - the following day, she told me they had been found dead. When we arrived at our destination, I learned more about Syama Paz Lemus - a shy girl who loved chatting on social networks and online gaming, she spent a lot of time in her bedroom on her laptop and Xbox.
It's a typical teenage girl's bedroom, with every wall covered in posters of bands and Japanese anime figures. Her dressing table is jam-packed with cosmetics and there's a TV and DVD player opposite the bed - now draped with a huge missing poster which her family take on marches. Syama had seemed withdrawn in the fortnight before she disappeared, but her family assumed it was normal teenage behaviour so didn't press her for an explanation. On the day she disappeared, her mother called her from work around 17:00 to make sure she'd eaten, but when Syama's grandfather returned at 20:00 she was gone. Her room was a mess and her Xbox and some clothes were also missing. The neighbours said Syama opened the door to a hooded man who arrived in a taxi just after 17:00. Not long after, he led Syama out of the house carrying two bags, and the pair left in a white car. Her mother Neida went online straight away but Syama's Facebook and Xbox accounts had been de-activated. She eventually found a secret folder showing screengrabs of online threats Syama had received in the weeks leading up to her disappearance.
"The threats were very direct: they said that if she didn't go with this person, her life would be made impossible, that they would publish her life on social networks, and that she and her family would regret it," says Neida.
"We always worried about her spending so much time online, but talked to her about the risks and had told her that she shouldn't give out information about herself." Syama had left notes for her mother and grandparents. "She said that she would be OK, that we shouldn't worry, and that we shouldn't look for her. She asked me to look after her little sister, and buy her a present, so that she would always remember her," says Neida, breaking down in tears. Since then, the family has searched for Syama in the hope of finding some clue to her whereabouts. They've traced unknown callers to Syama's mobile phone and chased anonymous tips around the country, but 10 months later there has been no breakthrough. Picture of a girl and writing on a wall that reads Image copyright AP Image caption "No more violence against women". In July, the state governor finally admitted - after years of denial - that gender violence is a serious problem in some areas. He issued Mexico's first ever "gender alert" in 11 of the 125 municipalities, including Ecatepec where Syama lived. This means federal authorities must investigate the causes of the high levels of gender violence and then introduce emergency and long-term measures to protect women and girls. Syama's case is still open with police, and her family remains optimistic.
"Karen's story does give us hope that my daughter could return one day. But it's very hard, because you realise how unsafe it is here; you're not even safe in your own home." Karen's name has been changed for this article. Graves are seen in a cemetery in a poor Juarez neighbourhood where many of the deceased are victims of violent crime. A film of a woman being beheaded in Mexico caused an international outcry in 2013 when Facebook refused to remove it from its site. There have been hundreds of reports about the video - but why has no-one identified the victim in it?

Shahadat Hossain: Bangladesh cricketer charged with torturing maid
30 Dec 2015
Bangladeshi cricketer Shahadat Hossain is taken away by policemen after he surrendered before a court in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Shahadat Hossain (centre) handed himself in to police in October . Police in Bangladesh have charged the cricketer Shahadat Hossain and his wife with torturing their former domestic servant, an 11-year-old girl. If found guilty, the couple may face lengthy jail terms. They are currently on bail and deny charges of employing and assaulting a minor.  The police charge sheet submitted to the court in Dhaka accuses the couple of physically torturing the child. Bangladesh's Cricket Board has already suspended the medium-fast bowler. The case is to be heard on 12 January. The girl, Mahfuza Akhter Happy, was found in a Dhaka street in September with multiple injuries, including a broken leg and a black eye. She told police that she had been working for the couple for a year and that they had beaten and tortured her. The charges have been brought under legislation designed to protect women and children from domestic abuse. If convicted, the cricketer and his wife, Jasmine Jahan Nritto Shahadat, could face jail terms of between seven and 14 years, plus a fine. Hossain handed himself in on 5 October. He initially went to police on 6 September claiming that his maid had gone missing.

Saudi diplomat 'raped Nepali maids' in India
9 September 2015
Two veiled Nepali women, who told police they were raped by a Saudi official, sit in a vehicle outside Nepal"s embassy in New Delhi, India, September 9, 2015.Image copyright Reuters Image caption The victims alleged they were abused over several months at the apartment in Gurgaon. Police in India are investigating allegations that a Saudi Arabian diplomat raped two Nepali maids at his home near the capital Delhi. The women were rescued from the house in the suburb of Gurgaon on Monday after a tip-off from an NGO. They say they were held captive by his family and starved and sexually abused by them and other Saudi nationals. The Saudi embassy denied the charges. Police say the official has diplomatic immunity and is in the embassy. They have registered a case of rape, sodomy and illegal confinement against the official, without naming him.  The two women, aged 30 and 50, were apparently lured away from Nepal with promises of fake jobs, The Hindu reports. Gurgaon is an upmarket suburb on the outskirts of the capital. The alleged abuse to which they were subjected took place over several months at the apartment in Gurgaon, south of Delhi. Confirming the official had immunity, Gurgaon police chief Navdeep Singh Virk said the women had told the police the diplomat's family "had hired them and taken them to Jeddah a few months back for working as maids". The women worked in Jeddah for about a month and then returned to the apartment in Gurgaon where they continued to work as maids.
"[The women] allege that the Saudi Arabian family detained them for the past four-five months, and they were not allowed to go out of the house, and during this period they were beaten up, raped and abused and threatened by the family and their guests," Mr Virk said. Police raided the apartment late on Monday and rescued the women. "The women were brought to the police station and later sent to the hospital for a medical examination that confirmed rape and sexual assault," senior Gurgaon police official Rajesh Kumar Chechi told The Indian Express newspaper. The women told the Times Now television channel they were never abused at the embassy official's house in Saudi Arabia and that the violence started only after they returned to India. "They would beat us every night and often there was more than one man who would torture and rape us," one of the women said. "We have marks all over our body. Mr Virk said the police had provided the "requisite information" to India's foreign ministry. Nepal's embassy said earlier it was waiting for the police investigation to end before it launched a diplomatic complaint, Reuters reported.
Thousands of men and women from Nepal, one of the world's poorest countries, travel to India and other Asian and Arab states every year to seek work as domestic servants and labourers.

Sex trafficking: Lifelong struggle of exploited children - 2 videos
30 July 2015
Ian Pannell's report contains some harrowing testimony on the trafficking of children. In the US, poverty, deprivation and exploitation draws thousands of its own children down into a dark underworld that offers few ways out.  It is a world few Americans are aware of. But tens of thousands of American children are thought to be sexually exploited every year.  It's believed that every night hundreds are sold for sex. The FBI says child sex abuse is almost at an epidemic level, despite the agency rescuing 600 children last year.  "Trafficking" often conjures images of people from other countries being smuggled over land and across the sea and then forced to work against their will in foreign lands. People are trafficked into America from Mexico, Central and South America. But the vast majority of children bought and sold for sex every night in the United States are American kids. We have heard from a number of women from the East coast to the Mid-west who have frighteningly similar and horrific stories. Neglected, abused, exploited and often ignored starting from a young age - sometimes even prosecuted by the very people who should have protected them.  A handful of good souls, the kindness of a few strangers and the good work of some law enforcement agencies and the FBI offer some relief to America's most vulnerable. But the stories we have heard suggest they are only scratching the surface of one of America's best-kept and darkest secrets.
When a choice is not a choice
In Minnesota, I met with former sex workers who had sought support through an advocacy group called Breaking Free. Half of the women in the group were under the age of 18 when they first were sold for sex. Many of the others were not much older than 18. One woman says she was bought by her aunt at the age of 14. "She gave my mom $900. Told me I was going shopping at the mall." The aunt would bring her to drug dealers' houses, where she was raped and given drugs. "She would leave me...and then [was] like 'You were messed up, you wanted to stay'," she recalls. She soon believed the abuse was her fault and her choice. Genesis: "All of this was normal," she says. "I'd seen it since I was 10, 11, 12 years old." Another woman says she was 17 when she was kicked out of the house. "I wanted to get high," she says, and turned to working as a prostitute. She later started using the classified adverts website to make more money to keep up with her addiction.
A third was 14 when she was kidnapped by "a guy I thought I liked". She didn't return home for two years.  Jenny Gaines, who leads the group discussion at Breaking Free, says many "manipulate and take advantage of underage girls".
One woman said of her abuser, "He knew I was 14, he had to know that I was underage," despite her attempts to pretend to be 18. "When he actually found out how old I was it didn't stop him... he wanted me even more."
Jenny Gaines: Tricked into prostitution at 14. Fighting to stay out of 'the life'. A woman who was first trafficked at 14 says she is living in a shelter right now and is struggling to not return to prostitution. "There's tricks' names still on my phone,
I haven't even deleted them yet and I need to delete them," she says. "Because when I get down, when I'm feeling really yucky it's almost like I want to have that number there. But she says she doesn't want to return to that life. "It's just a big circle, you get high, you get tricked, you get the money and you just keep going around and going around, and you have to break off all of them to even be doing okay."
Breaking Free
The women at Breaking Free support each other while they discuss the difficulty of leaving sex work . It is an uphill battle.  "I just need the support and to believe in myself that I can make it. It's a funny spot I'm in." Another woman says she hasn't been on Backpage for eight months. "I'm not perfect. I'm just trying," she says. She finds it difficult to provide for her daughter without the money she made working as a prostitute. "I stopped when I was 22 and had my first son," the woman says, detailing her "off and on" experience. She's been away for seven months, partially because she is pregnant with her fourth child. She hopes attending Breaking Free will prevent her from returning. Gaines listens to a woman speak at Breaking Free
"I'm going to have a daughter," she says. "I don't want her to do like what I did. Another woman likens it to an addiction. "It's like I have this hole like whatever it is it's not enough, that fills it for me, my kids get what they want," she tells the group.
I don't ever have to ask nobody for nothing."  Many of the women in the Breaking Free yearn for sense of normalcy. "I just want my freedom back," one woman says. "I just want to look out for my kids, and live my life, live a normal life."
But for women who were sold for sex as children, abuse, drugs and sex work is normal.  One woman we spoke to in Minnesota was not at Breaking Free. She was on the streets, still working at five months pregnant. She says was groomed from age 12 by a neighbour, who enticed her with a garage full of toys and games. He offered her money for topless photos.  "I see more and more younger girls out here now and it's really sad," she says. "It's not a choice. At 12, it was not a choice."

Human trafficking (modern Slavery): The lives bought and sold - 4 videos (on that site)

(Draconians and the like are behind all that! We need to mentally destroy this Holographic World of Slavery, mentally burn it, explode it, flood it and so on! LM)
28 July 2015
Millions of men, women and children around the world are currently victims of human trafficking - bought and sold as commodities into prostitution and forced labour. This trade in people criss-crosses the globe - and it is a lucrative business.
The International Labour Office estimates that forced labour generates $150bn (£96bn) in illegal profits every year. Two thirds ($99bn; £63bn) comes from sexual exploitation. But who are the people behind the numbers? Kemi's story, Nigeria.
Kemi and Bilkisu, from Nigeria, Jane from the UK and Gabby from the US describe how they fell prey to traffickers. Map showing human trafficking routes across the worldline. Thousands of women and girls from West Africa are bought and sold every year - most end up in Europe. The UN's Office on Drugs and Crime estimates West African trafficking victims, many of whom originate in Nigeria, make up about 10% of those forced into sex work in Western Europe. Benin City, in Nigeria's south, is a key player - with networks and infrastructure built around the trade in people. Benin City, in Nigeria's south, is a known trafficking hub . There, traffickers scout for girls wanting to travel, enticing them with promises of work and education. The victims are offered false papers and told they will need to pay off the cost of their transit when they reach their destination country. Once recruited, the girls are often forced to take part in rituals to ensure their compliance. One female former trafficker in Benin City describes how traffickers take girls' clothes as well as hair from their head, armpit and pubic area and hand them over to a traditional preacher in a ceremony, as a pledge that they will pay back their debts. "With all those things collected from them, they have this fear that anything can happen," she says. A Nigerian trafficker explains how she supplies women for a profit and the risks involved. One of those who fell victim to the lies of the traffickers is Kemi. She was promised a new life in Italy - one that would allow her to provide for her family. "They said, 'We want to change your life. We just want you to be happy'," she tells the BBC.
Victim of trafficking
Kemi was tricked into work in the sex industry. On her arrival in Italy, Kemi, a Catholic, soon learnt that the reality of her new life was far from what was promised. She [the trafficker] is sending her children to the best schools with the money that I earned with my bodyKemi, Nigerian trafficking victim. She was told she would be expected to work as a prostitute. Although she initially refused, after being denied food and having her phone taken from her as punishment, she began to do as she was told. "In the end, I worked for three years and three months," she says. Over that time, Kemi paid a total of €27,000 ($30,000; £19,000) to her traffickers - an amount they were still not satisfied with. She eventually found the strength to leave their clutches and escaped to stay with friends. However, she was deported by Italian authorities back to Nigeria some time later.  Map showing main land human trafficking routes from Nigeria. Without anything to show for her time spent abroad, Kemi decided not to return to her family. "I was ashamed to go back home," she says tearfully. "I was ashamed to go back with nothing. Now, traumatised by her experiences, she feels nothing but anger towards her traffickers. They are wicked," she says. "The woman that sent me has two girls. She is sending them to the best schools with the money that I earned with my body."
Bilkisu and Jane's story, UK
Hundreds of those trafficked from Nigeria end up in the UK, where they often face similar sexual exploitation or a life of forced domestic servitude. Some 244 of the 2,340 potential victims referred to UK authorities in 2014 were from Nigeria, according to the National Crime Agency, a 31% increase on the previous year. The only country with a higher number of potential victims was Albania. Bilkisu is one of those sent from Nigeria to the UK under false pretences. From the age of 15 she was kept as a slave - working long hours for no pay for almost 10 years. Promised a place to stay with her uncle and the chance to continue her education, as well as provide her family with extra income, she left her homeland hoping for a better life.
However, once she reached the UK, she found herself being forced to do housework and childcare for her uncle's family. She began her chores at 05:00 and didn't finish until 21:00. I was lonely... You know when you're inside a hole and there is no light - it is black. Everywhere was black. Bilkisu, who was trafficked from Nigeria to the UK.  "Get the children ready for school, shower them, give them breakfast, iron the clothes," she says when describing her daily routine. "And also my auntie and my uncle, I had to get their clothes ready as well, as they needed to go to work." During the day, Bilkisu cleaned the three-bedroom flat from top to bottom. If her aunt was not satisfied with the work done, she would be beaten. I was lonely... You know when you're inside a hole and there is no light - it is black. Everywhere was black. I was like that." Bilkisu, Nigerian trafficking victim. In the nine years Bilkisu worked for her uncle and his family, she didn't have a single day off and never received any pay. It was only when she reached her 20s that she began a series of desperate attempts to get help. She eventually escaped with the help of the pastor at her local church. But, having been robbed of a childhood, she still finds it difficult to socialise. "I don't know how to make friends anymore," she explains. "That damage is still there and, I don't know, it's going to be there forever and ever."
'Passed around UK'
Unlike Bilkisu, many child victims of trafficking in the UK are actually bought and sold within the country. The UK government believes there are currently 13,000 children being exploited in this way. Jane was just 13 when she was groomed and then abused, before being trafficked across the UK by groups of men for sex. It began while she was at school. A man in his 70s, who knew she had an unstable family life, began to offer her presents and lifts. He was soon asking for repayment in sexual acts and, slowly, over time, he began passing Jane around other Asian men. They burnt my hair, they've broken bits of my face. They've tried to douse me in petrol and set me on fire.
Jane, who was trafficked across the UK. BBC. At first, the men would drive her around, offer her drugs and take inappropriate pictures of her, she says. But the abuse soon escalated. "Within a few weeks the older male would lock the door with the men inside and they wanted sex. And they took videos, they took pictures, they'd given me things [drugs] to take." Soon, Jane was being swapped between different groups of men across the country - sometimes hours away. They would meet at petrol stations to pass her between vehicles. If she tried to object, the men would become violent and threaten her family. I think because it started at an early age, after a while you just believe that that's all you're worth. Jane, groomed and trafficked in UK. They'd throw you out of the car. They burnt my hair, they've broken bits of my face. They've tried to douse me in petrol and set me on fire," she says. Because Jane's self-esteem was so eroded, she describes how she no longer put up a fight. She has been left with a number of injuries to her skull and nose as well as permanent internal damage. "I was scared of what was happening. I think because it started at an early age, after a while you just believe that that's all you're worth." The Salvation Army's Anne Read says modern slavery is more widespread than many people suspect. Jane's abuse went on for nine years - sometimes every day, sometimes with months in between. Her ordeal was made worse, she says, because police and other agencies didn't believe she was the victim. She finally escaped the clutches of the gangs by contacting the Salvation Army. "I didn't really have to say much, they just understood and said, 'It's not your fault, we can help you'. Within two hours there was a car to pick me up to take me to a safe place."
Gabby's story, US
It is a similar story in the United States, where tens of thousands of children are being trafficked into prostitution. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says child exploitation is at "near-epidemic levels". Gabby, from Baltimore, says she was abused by her father between the ages of eight and 12 and turned to drugs - a relationship that she feels has influenced how she interacts with men.
"I learnt very early that you could get things that you wanted or needed through sexual favours," she says. Gabby says she turned to drugs and fell into a relationship with an addict who, years later, pushed her into prostitution. I didn't have a choice either, but the crazy thing was I thought I did. Gabby forced into prostitution by boyfriend.  "I didn't hesitate because I felt like he had taken care of me for all that time and I trusted him. I think that it was his plan to get me to trust him beyond any shadow of any doubt."  Gabby says she soon discovered the "boyfriend pimp" was nothing out of the ordinary on the streets, where she saw underage girls experimenting with drugs before being "snatched up by these guys and forced out there. The pimp would sit in his car on a certain corner wherever he had her working so that she would know that he wasn't far away. She was too afraid to run, you know, and there were about five girls out there like that when I was out there."
The FBI's Joseph Campbell says child exploitation in the US has reached near-epidemic levels. Gabby managed to escape the streets and leave her boyfriend and, with therapy, is starting to try to make sense of what happened to her. But she says for many of the young girls out on the streets - confused, terrified and trapped in those relationships - getting out can be a matter of life or death. And a lot of times you'll wind up going from one situation like that to another and not even realising the pattern of it, until you're able to get around somebody who can help you."

My 25 years as a prostitute (US) - video

Prostitution Survivor - Brenda Myers Powell
30 June 2015
Brenda Myers-Powell was just a child when she became a prostitute in the early 1970s. Here she describes how she was pulled into working on the streets and why, three decades later, she devoted her life to making sure other girls don't fall into the same trap. Some people will find Brenda's account upsetting. Right from the start life was handing me lemons, but I've always tried to make the best lemonade I can. I grew up in the 1960s on the West Side of Chicago. My mother died when I was six months old. She was only 16 and I never learned what it was that she died from - my grandmother, who drank more than most, couldn't tell me later on. The official explanation is that it was "natural causes". I don't believe that. Who dies at 16 from natural causes? I like to think that God was just ready for her. I heard stories that she was beautiful and had a great sense of humour. I know that's true because I have one also. It was my grandmother that took care of me. And she wasn't a bad person - in fact she had a side to her that was so wonderful. She read to me, baked me stuff and cooked the best sweet potatoes. She just had this drinking problem. She would bring drinking partners home from the bar and after she got intoxicated and passed out these men would do things to me. It started when I was four or five years old and it became a regular occurrence. I'm certain my grandmother didn't know anything about it. She worked as a domestic in the suburbs. It took her two hours to get to work and two hours to get home. So I was a latch-key kid - I wore a key around my neck and I would take myself to kindergarten and let myself back in at the end of the day. And the molesters knew about that, and they took advantage of it.
I would watch women with big glamorous hair and sparkly dresses standing on the street outside our house. I had no idea what they were up to; I just thought they were shiny. As a little girl, all I ever wanted was to be shiny. One day I asked my grandmother what the women were doing and she said, "Those women take their panties off and men give them money." And I remember saying to myself, "I'll probably do that" because men had already been taking my panties off. All I knew was the light in the trunk of the car and then the faces of these two guys with their pistol. To look back now, I dealt with it all amazingly well. Alone in that house, I had imaginary friends to keep me company that I would sing and dance around with - an imaginary Elvis Presley, an imaginary Diana Ross and the Supremes. I think that helped me deal with things. I was a really outgoing girl - I used to laugh a lot. At the same time, I was afraid, always afraid. I didn't know if what was happening was my fault or not. I thought perhaps something was wrong with me. Even though I was a smart kid, I disconnected from school. Going into the 1970s, I became the kind of girl who didn't know how to say "no" - if the little boys in the community told me that they liked me or treated me nice, they could basically have their way with me. By the time I was 14, I'd had two children with boys in the community, two baby girls. My grandmother started to say that I needed to bring in some money to pay for these kids, because there was no food in the house, we had nothing. So, one evening - it was actually Good Friday - I went along to the corner of Division Street and Clark Street and stood in front of the Mark Twain hotel. I was wearing a two-piece dress costing $3.99, cheap plastic shoes, and some orange lipstick which I thought might make me look older. I was 14 years old and I cried through everything. But I did it. I didn't like it, but the five men who dated me that night showed me what to do.
They knew I was young and it was almost as if they were excited by it. I made $400 but I didn't get a cab home that night. I went home by train and I gave most of that money to my grandmother, who didn't ask me where it came from. These are not relationships, no-one's bringing me any flowers here, trust me on that - they're using my body like a toilet. The following weekend I returned to Division and Clark, and it seemed like my grandmother was happy when I brought the money home.
But the third time I went down there, a couple of guys pistol-whipped me and put me in the trunk of their car. They had approached me before because I was, as they called it, "unrepresented" on the street. All I knew was the light in the trunk of the car and then the faces of these two guys with their pistol. First they took me to a cornfield out in the middle of nowhere and raped me. Then they took me to a hotel room and locked me in the closet. That's the kind of thing pimps will do to break a girl's spirits. They kept me in there for a long time. I was begging them to let me out because I was hungry, but they would only allow me out of the closet if I agreed to work for them. They pimped me for a while, six months or so. I wasn't able to go home. I tried to get away but they caught me, and when they caught me they hurt me so bad. Later on, I was trafficked by other men. The physical abuse was horrible, but the real abuse was the mental abuse - the things they would say that would just stick and which you could never get from under. I've been shot five times, stabbed 13 times. I don't know why those men attacked me, all I know is that society made it comfortable for them to do so. Pimps are very good at torture, they're very good at manipulation. Some of them will do things like wake you in the middle of the night with a gun to your head. Others will pretend that they value you, and you feel like, "I'm Cinderella, and here comes my Prince Charming". They seem so sweet and so charming and they tell you: "You just have to do this one thing for me and then you'll get to the good part." And you think, "My life has already been so hard, what's a little bit more?" But you never ever do get to the good part. When people describe prostitution as being something that is glamorous, elegant, like in the story of Pretty Woman, well that doesn't come close to it. A prostitute might sleep with five strangers a day. Across a year, that's more than 1,800 men she's having sexual intercourse or oral sex with. They brought their anger or mental illness or whatever it was and they decided to wreak havoc on a prostitute, knowing I couldn't go to the police and if I did I wouldn't be taken seriously. I actually count myself very lucky.
I knew some beautiful girls who were murdered out there on the streets. I prostituted for 14 or 15 years before I did any drugs. But after a while, after you've turned as many tricks as you can, after you've been strangled, after someone's put a knife to your throat or someone's put a pillow over your head, you need something to put a bit of courage in your system. I was a prostitute for 25 years, and in all that time I never once saw a way out. But on 1 April 1997, when I was nearly 40 years old, a customer threw me out of his car. My dress got caught in the door and he dragged me six blocks along the ground, tearing all the skin off my face and the side of my body. I went to the County Hospital in Chicago and they immediately took me to the emergency room. Because of the condition I was in, they called in a police officer, who looked me over and said: "Oh I know her. She's just a hooker. She probably beat some guy and took his money and got what she deserved." And I could hear the nurse laughing along with him. They pushed me out into the waiting room as if I wasn't worth anything, as if I didn't deserve the services of the emergency room after all. And it was at that moment, while I was waiting for the next shift to start and for someone to attend to my injuries, that I began to think about everything that had happened in my life. Up until that point I had always had some idea of what to do, where to go, how to pick myself up again. Suddenly it was like I had run out of bright ideas. I remember looking up and saying to God, "These people don't care about me. Could you please help me?"
God worked real fast. A doctor came and took care of me and she asked me to go and see social services in the hospital. What I knew about social services was they were anything but social. But they gave me a bus pass to go to a place called Genesis House, which was run by an awesome Englishwoman named Edwina Gateley, who became a great hero and mentor for me. She helped me turn my life around. It was a safe house, and I had everything that I needed there. I didn't have to worry about paying for clothes, food, getting a job. They told me to take my time and stay as long as I needed - and I stayed almost two years. My face healed, my soul healed. I got Brenda back. Through Edwina Gateley, I learned the value of that deep connection that can occur between women, the circle of trust and love and support that a group of women can give one another. Usually, when a woman gets out of prostitution, she doesn't want to talk about it. What man will accept her as a wife? What person will hire her in their employment? And to begin with, after I left Genesis House, that was me too. I just wanted to get a job, pay my taxes and be like everybody else. But I started to do some volunteering with sex workers and to help a university researcher with her fieldwork. After a while I realised that nobody was helping these young ladies. Nobody was going back and saying, "That's who I was, that's where I was. This is who I am now. You can change too, you can heal too."
So in 2008, together with Stephanie Daniels-Wilson, we founded the Dreamcatcher Foundation. A dreamcatcher is a Native American object, that you hang near a child's cot. It is supposed to chase away children's nightmares. That's what we want to do - we want to chase away those bad dreams, those bad things that happen to young girls and women. The recent documentary film Dreamcatcher, directed by Kim Longinotto, showed the work that we do. We meet up with women who are still working on the street and we tell them, "There is a way out, we're ready to help you when you're ready to be helped." We try to get through that brainwashing that says, "You're born to do this, there's nothing else for you."

I also run after-school clubs with young girls who are exactly like I was in the 1970s. I can tell as soon as I meet a girl if she is in danger, but there is no fixed pattern. You might have one girl who's quiet and introverted and doesn't make eye contact. Then there might be another who's loud and obnoxious and always getting in trouble. They're both suffering abuse at home but they're dealing with it in different ways - the only thing they have in common is that they are not going to talk about it.
But in time they understand that I have been through what they're going through, and then they talk to me about it. So far, we have 13 girls who have graduated from high school and are now in city colleges or have gotten full scholarships to go to other colleges. They came to us 11, 12, 13 years old, totally damaged. And now they're reaching for the stars. Besides my outreach work, I attend conferences and contribute to academic work on prostitution. I've had people say to me, "Brenda, come and meet Professor so-and-so from such-and-such university. He's an expert on prostitution."
And I look at him and I want to say: "Really? Where did you get your credentials? What do you really know about prostitution? The expert is standing in front of you."
I know I belong in that room but sometimes I have to let them know I belong there. And I think it's ridiculous that there are organisations that campaign against human trafficking, that do not employ a single person who has been trafficked.
People say different things about prostitution. Some people think that it would actually help sex workers more if it were decriminalised. I think it's true to say that every woman has her own story. It may be OK for this girl, who is paying her way through law school, but not for this girl, who was molested as a child, who never knew she had another choice, who was just trying to get money to eat. But let me ask you a question. How many people would you encourage to quit their jobs to become prostitutes? Would you say to any of your close friends or female relatives, "Hey, have you thought of this? I think this would be a really great move for you!"

And let me say this too. However the situation starts off for a girl, that's not how the situation will end up. It might look OK now, the girl in law school might say she only has high-end clients that come to her through an agency, that she doesn't work on the streets but arranges to meet people in hotel rooms, but the first time that someone hurts her, that's when she really sees her situation for what it is. You always get that crazy guy slipping through and he has three or four guys behind him, and they force their way into your room and gang rape you, and take your phone and all your money. And suddenly you have no means to make a living and you're beaten up too. That is the reality of prostitution.
Three years ago, I became the first woman in the state of Illinois to have her convictions for prostitution wiped from her record. It was after a new law was brought in, following lobbying from the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, a group that seeks to shift the criminal burden away from the victims of sexual trafficking. Women, who have been tortured, manipulated and brainwashed should be treated as survivors, not criminals. There are good women in this world and also bad women. There are bad men and also good men.
Following my time as a prostitute, I simply wasn't ready for another relationship. But after three years of healing and abstinence, I met an extraordinary man. I was very picky - he likes to joke that I asked him more questions than the parole board.
He didn't judge me for any of the things that had happened before we met. When he looked at me he didn't even see those things - he says all he saw was a girl with a pretty smile that he wanted to be a part of his life. I sure wanted to be a part of his too. He supports me in everything I do, and we celebrated 10 years of marriage last year. My daughters, who were raised by my aunt in the suburbs, grew up to be awesome young ladies. One is a doctor and one works in criminal justice. Now my husband and I have adopted my little nephew - and here I am, 58 years old, a football mum. So I am here to tell you - there is life after so much damage, there is life after so much trauma. There is life after people have told you that you are nothing, that you are worthless and that you will never amount to anything. There is life - and I'm not just talking about a little bit of life. There is a lot of life.
Clip from Dreamcatcher, directed by Kim Longinotto
Brenda Myers-Powell appeared on Outlook on the BBC World Service. Listen again to the interview on iPlayer or get the Outlook podcast. The documentary Dreamcatcher, directed by Kim Longinottowill be broadcast in the UK as part of the BBC's Storyville strand in October. Production by William Krem

Leading Australians speak out about domestic violence
11 Sep 2015
Darren Lockyer, former Australian rugby league playerImage copyright AAP Image caption Sports star and father-of-three Darren Lockyer has condemned violence against women. High-profile Australians, including a leading sportsman, have spoken out against domestic violence after a string of attacks against women. The state of the Queensland was this week shocked by the deaths of two women, allegedly by former partners, and a vicious attack on a third.
Sporting identity Darren Lockyer said the violence had to stop. He has joined the state premier and other prominent Queenslanders in speaking out.
"It is not the society we want to live in nor should we accept it," said the former Australian Rugby League captain, who is now a TV sports commentator. "Behaviours don't change overnight but we need to draw a line in the sand and get serious about the way we treat other human beings with respect, especially our women and children," he told local media.
In the wake of the two deaths, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would fast track sweeping new domestic violence legislation.
"What we've just seen over the last few days is atrocious, it's horrific... it's had horrible consequences," Premier Palaszczuk said.
Queensland Premier Annastacia PalaszczukImage copyright Getty Images Image caption A Queensland domestic violence taskforce report has made 140 recommendations
On Tuesday, Queensland woman Tara Brown, 24, was allegedly bashed with a brick by her ex-partner after he drove her off the road, trapping her inside her wrecked car.
She died in hospital, a week after being turned away by police when she sought help to escape the violent relationship.
Flowers are left outside a residence in Molendinar on the Gold Coast, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. New Zealand woman Tara Brown, 24, died in hospital late Wednesday night after she was allegedly beaten by her estranged partner Lionel Patea.Image copyright AAP Image caption Locals created a shrine in memory of one of the victims
Two days later, mother-of-three Karina Lock, 49, was shot in the head by her estranged husband in front of shocked diners at a popular fast food outlet.
In a separate incident on the same day, a 51-year-old man was arrested for allegedly driving his partner's car off the road and chasing her down the street with a machete. She survived the attack.
The three cases have shaken emergency workers and prompted an outpouring of grief on social media. People react following a shooting at a McDonalds restaurant in Helensvale on the Gold Coast, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. Political leaders have called on communities to band together to stamp out domestic violence. It comes as the Council of Australian Governments, the peak inter-governmental forum, is working to better coordinate police and legal action on domestic violence across state and territory borders. Announcing the plan earlier this year, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the scheme would mean a domestic violence court order against an alleged perpetrator in one jurisdiction would hold in another.
The violence should not be allowed to follow women from state to state, he said. On average, one woman is killed every week as a result of intimate partner violence in Australia, according to government statistics.

Pregnant at 10 and abortion's not an option

10 Sep 2015
Earlier this year, a 10-year-old girl in Paraguay made headlines when she arrived at a hospital 20 weeks pregnant. But this was not a one-off case. Last year, more than 700 girls aged 14 and younger gave birth in this South American nation of seven million people.
At the Casa Rosa Maria in Paraguay's capital, Asuncion, the kitchen is full of chattering girls preparing food to celebrate the 13th birthday of a new resident - a girl who is five months pregnant. Nine of them live at this spacious mother-and-baby home run by the local Catholic Church. It's a joyful place that echoes with the sound of teenage laughter, scampering toddlers and gurgling babies.
In the kitchen in a stripy jumper and jeans, rocking her hefty-looking one-year-old son on a hip that's hardly there, is Perla. She is 12. Perla was raped by her brother when she was 10, and became a mother at 11.
Perla's one of 200 girls who have passed through the doors of the Casa Rosa Maria, some as young as nine.
"When they are so young and they are plucked from ordinary family life and brought here, it can be very hard for them," says Cilsa Vera, who is in charge. "But we give them good health care, clothing and food, and they adapt very quickly."
Young women cooking
That was certainly the case with Mercedes. Now 17, she became pregnant at 12 after being raped by her stepfather. Arriving at the Casa Rosa Maria was a huge relief.
"When I lived in the country at home, my life was terrible," she says. "Everything was so much better when I got here to Asuncion. Now I want to study cookery, finish my schooling and go to university. I want the best for my daughter, and I never want her to experience what I went through."
At the Casa Rosa Maria all the girls are encouraged to study so they can get a job to support their children.
According to Paraguay's Ministry of Health, 704 girls aged 14 and younger gave birth last year - about two each day. But the real figure could be higher - data collection is unreliable, especially in far-flung communities, some of them many hours by road from Asuncion, the capital.
"The numbers are increasing year on year, so this is a problem that's getting worse," says Mirtha Rivarola from the UNFPA, the UN's Population Fund. "It's an alarming situation. For a 10-year-old who becomes a mother, her life trajectory is going to be limited. We're losing too many precious lives for the future."
In England and Wales, with a population of 57 million, eight times greater than Paraguay's, there were 1,378 conceptions by girls aged 14 and younger in 2013. Abortion is legal in the UK, so the majority of these pregnancies ended in termination. In Paraguay however, abortion is only allowed if a mother's life is deemed to be in danger.
Newspaper headline reads 'Girl of 11 is already a mother'Image copyright AFP Image caption A newspaper headline reads 'Girl of 11 is already a mother'
Ten-year-old Mainumby became front-page news in April. She first complained of stomach ache in January. Her mother took her to various clinics, but the pain continued. Three months later, a hospital doctor had the presence of mind to give the child a scan, and she was found to be 20 weeks pregnant.
The alleged abuser, Mainumby's stepfather, was taken into custody while the courts await the results of a DNA test that will prove paternity. Media interest in the case ratcheted up when her mother was arrested as an accessory to the abuse, imprisoned for two months and not allowed to see her daughter.
Amnesty International campaigned for Mainumby to be allowed to have an abortion, and a group of United Nations human rights experts criticised Paraguay. But the authorities were unmoved.
"The psychological evaluations Mainumby underwent showed she was a happy girl - a girl without any problems," says Paraguay's Health Minister, Dr Antonio Barrios. "And the only option left open to us, because the girl's life was not in danger, was to continue with the pregnancy."
Mainumby has since given birth to a baby girl. But some Paraguayans think the government gambled with her health - pregnancy is much riskier for a girl or teenager than it is for an adult woman.
The Red Cross Hospital in Asuncion which assisted MainumbyImage copyright AFP Image caption The Red Cross Hospital in Asuncion which assisted Mainumby
"There's a very strong religious fundamentalist influence here," says Elba Nunez, the co-ordinator of a feminist network, Cladem. "In the end they need to demonstrate that a 10-year-old girl can be a mother in Paraguay… Sexual abuse is a problem, but forced child pregnancy is also a problem, and it's a human rights issue."
Abortion is available illicitly though - if a girl's family can pay. But there are no reliable figures, nor are there numbers for the women who die as a result of a termination that goes wrong. Nunez talked to children in Concepcion, north of Asuncion, who knew all about cases like this.
"The poor kids said, 'Yes, it happens here… Girls have a fever, they gasp for breath and then they die.'"
The wealthier children knew exactly which clinics provided abortions and how much they cost.
"They call abortion 'appendicitis with little feet'. The girl doesn't come to school for a couple of weeks and all the kids know she has appendicitis with little feet."
Elba NunezImage caption Elba Nunez campaigns for the rights of women and girls
Often, behind the stories of child pregnancy lie stories of sexual violence - some 600 cases of sexual abuse of children under 14 reach the attorney general's office every year, though the perpetrators frequently escape punishment.
"What we see isn't the full picture of abuse in Paraguay," says specialist prosecutor Teresa Martinez Acosta. "And there is impunity - we manage a conviction in only 30% of cases. Also sentences are short, so usually after three or five years the perpetrator can walk free and continue to abuse."
But she says there has been one big positive change.
"Now we're receiving more cases - until a few years ago nobody would report anything, but now neighbours and teachers are beginning to come forward with information."
That willingness to report abuse has also been noticed at the national helpline that responds to the ill-treatment of children. In the month after Mainumby's pregnancy hit the headlines, the number of calls jumped from 750 to more than 950.
Those who blow the whistle on abusers often want to remain anonymous - a hangover perhaps from Paraguay's dictatorship years, when thousands were imprisoned and tortured, and staying safe meant keeping your head down.
In the past this meant many cases didn't make it to court, but now the transcripts of these phone conversations are being accepted as evidence.
With years of experience in social work, the co-ordinator of the helpline, Licia Martinez is still surprised by some of the cases that are reported - and by the attitude of perpetrators.
"Sometimes they don't understand that it's wrong. They have no empathy, or feelings of guilt. And they don't see that, not only could this lead to jail, but it's hurting another human-being. It's bordering on the behaviour of a sociopath," she says.
In Paraguay there is little state support for young mothers. Most help is provided by charities and the Catholic Church.
Banados SurImage caption A house in Banados Sur
At one church-run family centre in Banados Sur, Mil Solidarios, a dozen teenage mothers are attending an afternoon class - some with their babies. Some of the girls have partners, others are single parents. In return for coming here twice a week, and for attending night school to finish their secondary education, they receive a small grant.
"We're trying to make them see they have a future," says Soraya Bello, the co-ordinator.
Banados Sur is one of the most marginalised and populous neighbourhoods of Asuncion. It was built on swampland between the banks of the River Paraguay and the edge of the city, next to a huge rubbish dump. There are no paved roads, and flooding is common.
"Girls here don't go out and have fun - childhood is very short," says Bello. "There's a lack of opportunity and education. And if both parents are working, the oldest girl will assume the role of mother to look after her brothers and sisters. After that, it's usually not long till she's pregnant herself."
Banados Sur
In one of the classrooms, Maria is writing her group's feedback for the afternoon's session on a large piece of paper.
"People say a lot of things about us because we're from Banados Sur - that we're all criminals, and that we're dirty because of the conditions we live in.
"They say, 'How can you have a kid already, what were you thinking? You're a tart!' And even in the hospital they tell us off. So what are we going to do? It's not the baby's fault. And there's nothing to be done once you're pregnant."
At the Casa Rosa Maria, that realisation has already dawned on the newest resident at the mother-and-baby home. She stands with her hands in her jacket pocket, a child who is five months pregnant.
As the others prepare her birthday tea, she is the only one not chatting, laughing, or chasing after a toddler. When the girls sing happy birthday, her face is a picture of bewilderment and despair. But then how many children would choose to spend their 13th birthday this way?

The Tanzanian Women, who marry Women, Africa.
In the Tarime district of the Mara region in Northern Tanzania an age-old tradition involves Women marrying Women.

When bad news about Australia's economy hits home (Women working in mines, LM)- video
4 SEp 2015
As an Australian who has been a business reporter for many years, I can quite confidently say that the timing of bad news on the economy in Australia is a funny thing. When Asia had its financial crisis, Australia was fine. When the rest of the world struggled through the the most recent financial meltdown, we were alright. Australia's unemployment rate and economic growth was the envy of other developed countries. Its Treasurer was named the best in the world, but even then we didn't feel particularly pleased with our lot. Australians may have a laid back reputation, but we love to complain when it comes to our wallets. And so now the question is, when a run of bad headlines have been dominating the news, do Australians really have something to worry about?
The iron ore story
Mine worker Careen Lee explains what life is like working at Cloudbreak. When a slump hits a vast iron ore mine - "she'll be right mate".

Eight Australian men charged in 'paedophile ring'
29 July 2015
Det. Superintendent Feeney said the seized material was "disgusting". An Australian father is one of eight men charged with 503 child sex offences, including sexual slavery, against his 13-year-old daughter. The Perth man is accused of running the alleged paedophile ring involving men he knew, aged 35 to 47. The girl suffered the alleged abuse over two-years before being saved after a tip-off from the public in April. "She was rescued from this horrible situation... and is safe," Detective Superintendent Glenn Feeney said. Police seized several computer storage devices which allegedly contained 149 videos of the girl. "To give an idea of the scope, one of these storage devices contained 200,000 videos and four million photos," Det Superintendent Feeney said. "It's disgusting material. There's no words to describe it." The eight men have been charged with a range of offences including sexual penetration of a child, sexual servitude, stupefaction of a child, and child pornography offences.

'Female Viagra' (for sex drive in females) approved by US drug agency

(woman distress is not caused by lack of sex, but too much of it;
woman distress is also caused
by lack of Energy, lack of rest, lack of good water and food, lack of sun and oxygen in the air! LM)
19 August 2015
Experts have said the effects of the libido-enhancing drug are "modest". The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a libido-enhancing drug for women that has been dubbed "Female Viagra". Flibanserin, a drug produced by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, recently passed an FDA advisory committee meeting. The pill is designed to assist premenopausal women regain their sex drive by boosting levels of certain brain chemicals. The drug has been criticised as having marginal effects. Versions of the pill, which will be marketed as "Addyi", have been submitted for approval in the past but never passed.
It was rejected by the FDA twice for lack of effectiveness and side effects like nausea, dizziness and fainting. Women taking the drug reported between half and one more sexually satisfying event per month - results experts admitted were "modest". Originally the drug was produced by German company Boehringer Ingelheim. Sprout bought the drug from that company after it was turned down by the FDA. Sprout CEO Cindy WhiteheadSprout CEO Cindy Whitehead gains approval for the first drug to boost sexual desire in women. Documents from the 4 June FDA advisory meeting describe the drug's purpose as "treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in premenopausal women".
Women would take it each night. A doctor would have to determine whether a woman seeking the pill was suffering from a disorder characterised by a lack of sexual fantasies and desire, causing the woman distress. Currently, there is nothing on the US market approved for treatment of HSDD or another condition, female sexual interest/arousal disorder (FSIAD).
"This condition is clearly an area of unmet medical need," the FDA documents said. Sprout stress ball which reads: A brain-shaped stress ball at a Sprout employee's desk at their headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina. Sprout only has 25 employees. Large pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, Bayer and Proctor & Gamble have all studied female sexual desire disorder treatment but abandoned plans to pursue it.
Sprout's CEO, Cindy Whitehead, told AP they would promote Addyi carefully.
"We would never want a patient who's not going to see a benefit to take it and tell everyone it doesn't work," she said. Lobbying by Sprout Pharmaceuticals was backed by the women's rights group Even the Score, which has accused the FDA of gender bias by approving a number of drugs treating erectile dysfunction in men without passing an equivalent for women.

В Америке одобрено использование «виагры для женщин»
Управление по контролю за продуктами и лекарствами (FDA) одобрило первый в США препарат для лечения слабого либидо у женщин. Флибансерин, также известный как «женская виагра», предназначен для лечения расстройства под названием гиполибидемия, которое характеризуется отсутствием или потерей сексуального влечения в менструации. В отличие от виагры, которая увеличивает приток крови к половым органам, флибансерин действует на уровень химических веществ в головном мозге. Как сообщает Wired, расстройством сексуального влечения страдает каждая десятая женщина‎. Однако сам препарат является весьма спорным. FDA дважды отклоняло флибансерин (сначала в 2010-ом году, затем в 2013-ом) из-за его сильных побочных эффектов. Сторонники лекарства говорят о нем, как о чуть ли не единственном средстве для женщин, оставшихся без выбора. Его противники, в свою очередь, заявляют, что фармацевтическая промышленность пытается решить надуманную проблему или же более сложную, которая требует других путей решения. Некоторые врачи, пациенты и активисты говорят о дисбалансе между медицинскими препаратами для улучшения сексуальной жизни мужчин и женщин, обвиняя FDA в гендерной дискриминации. И все же критики опасаются, что флибансерин может причинить больше вреда, чем пользы. В отличие от силденафила (активное вещество виагры), который предписано принимать разовыми дозами, флибансерин нужно принимать раз в день, что увеличивает вероятность побочных эффектов при смешивании с алкоголем. Другие говорят, что эффективность препарата пока не доказана – якобы он не более эффективен, чем плацебо. Одни исследователи говорят, что побочные эффекты препарата, которые выражаются в сонливости и тошноте, не перевешивают выгоды от его использования. Другие озабочены тем, что флибансерин может оказывать серьезный вред организму – внезапное понижение кровяного давления и потеря сознания. Использование оральных контрацептивов, противогрибковых препаратов, триптанов, а также других лекарств может усугубить побочные действия «виагры для женщин», говорится в протесте около 200 исследователей с требованием отменить препарат. Тем не менее 18 августа FDA утвердило флибансерин. Уже в октябре американские врачи смогут выписывать его по рецепту.

Torture of Women by men - Middle East !

Hard life of Women-Migrants all over the Globe!

Australia Jehovah's Witnesses 'did not report 1,000 alleged abusers'
27 July 2015
Counsel for the commission Angus Stewart said that church elders could face charges for concealing sex crimes . The Jehovah's Witnesses Church in Australia failed to report more than 1,000 alleged child sex abusers to the police, an inquiry has heard. Instead, the commission says, the Church itself handled all the cases - some of which date to the 1950s. One elder told the hearing that notes relating to abuse claims were destroyed so they would not be discovered. Australia began a national inquiry into child sexual abuse in 2013, after claims of abuse in the Catholic Church. Members of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, whose remit includes religious groups, NGOs and state-care providers, say more than 4,000 victims have come forward. The commission has heard allegations of abuse taking place within the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Jewish community, as well as schools and children's homes.
Notes destroyed
Angus Stewart, counsel for the commission, said that of 1,006 alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse identified by the Jehovah's Witnesses Church, "not one was reported by the church to secular authorities". The Church dismissed 401 members following internal abuse hearings, but more than half were later reinstated, the inquiry was told. One Church member, identified only as BCB, gave testimony to the commission, saying that she was sexually assaulted by an elder as a teenager, and suffered depression as a result. "The abuse changed who I was," she said. "It destroyed my confidence and my self esteem." Another woman, given the pseudonym BCG, will give evidence that she was abused by her father, but forced by Church authorities to confront him about the allegations, Mr Stewart said. Her father responded by blaming her for "seducing him", Mr Stewart said. One Jehovah's Witnesses elder who handled BCB's complaint, Max Horley, admitted he destroyed notes about her allegations in case they fell into the "wrong hands". "We do not want our wives knowing our stuff - what sort of things we are dealing with," Mr Horley told the hearing, adding that they wanted to limit the number of congregation members, who knew about it. The Church would not report cases of abuse to the police, but would encourage the victims to report it, he said, although his understanding was "a little bit unclear because I've never had to do it".

South Korea's comfort women struggle to be heard video
3 August 2015
Seventy years after the end of World War Two, revisionism in Japan is growing stronger and becoming more mainstream. Some are denying that Japan committed war atrocities, including forcing women in China, South Korea and South East Asia to be sex slaves for Japanese soldiers.

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports on why some in Japan continue to deny the existence of the so-called comfort women. Former Japanese soldier: 'I call myself a war criminal'
4 August 2015
Seventy years after the end of World War Two, revisionism in Japan is growing stronger and becoming more mainstream. Some are denying that Japan committed war atrocities, including forcing women in China, South Korea and South East Asia to be comfort women, or sex slaves for Japanese soldiers.
But former Japanese soldier Masayoshi Matsumoto is speaking out against these revisionists.

Uganda bride price refund outlawed by top judges

Africa, Uganda, bought modern Brides - 2015
6 August 2015
Couple getting married. In many African countries, a man pays his future wife's family for her hand in marriage. Uganda's Supreme Court has ruled that the practice of refunding a bride price, or dowry, on the dissolution of a customary marriage is unconstitutional and should be banned. The judges said it suggested that women were in a market place, and infringed on their right to divorce. But they rejected the argument that the bride price itself was unconstitutional. Campaigners said that the dowry turns a woman into the husband's property. Should a marriage end in Uganda, the wife had been expected to refund the bride price - often paid in livestock. But it was argued that as women tend to have less wealth than their husbands, many became trapped in unhappy relationships. At the scene: Catherine Byaruhanga. There was a gasp in the court-room when the first justice ruled against the refunding of the bride price. This is being seen by those behind the case as a major step in chipping away at a tradition that is detrimental to women. But as most of the judges acknowledged many Ugandans support the idea of a bride price, which they do not see as a commercial transaction. The women's rights organisation Mifumi, which brought the case, welcomed the ruling, despite not getting everything it campaigned for. "This is a momentous occasion... and this ruling will aid the fight against women and girls' rights abuses," spokesperson Evelyn Schiller told the BBC outside the court. Ugandan couple at wedding party. The judges admitted the term "bride price" could make it seem like the woman was being bought. The BBC's Patience Atuhaire in the capital, Kampala, says that traditionally the bride price is seen as an honour and a sign that the couple are entering into a respectful marriage. Mifumi said that bride price encouraged domestic violence and could lead a man to think, that he had paid for his wife's "sexual and reproductive capacity". Six of the seven judges said that the direct link between the bride price and domestic violence had not been proved. However, they did say that using the phrase "bride price" was wrong as it made it look like the woman was purchased.

Norelys Judith Ramirez bashed after she refused he husband’s suggestion of a threesome (with her girlfriend, LM)

Women Beaten in Colombia - July 2015
JULY 08, 2015
Shocking injuries ... Norelys Judith Ramirez has shared this photo on social media. A COLOMBIAN woman who was beaten by her wealthy banker husband when she refused his suggestion of a threesome has posted images of her injuries to shame police into prosecuting him. Norelys Judith Ramirez, 28, said that even though she had complained about the vicious assault to police, nothing happened to her husband and that he continued to taunt her and her family. The young woman from the town of Soledad said she had invited a friend over for a drink and they had been chatting shortly before her husband arrived home. “He seemed very keen that we would get drunk and giving us large glasses of alcohol,” Norelys said. After getting drunk she alleges her husband then started trying to touch her and her friend, and was encouraging them to join him in a threesome. Attacked ... Norelys with her husband Juan Sebastian Pulido.  When both refused, and the friend left the room, Norelys said husband attacked her leaving her battered and bruised and in need of urgent medical attention. She said she had complained to police but incredibly nothing had happened to her husband. “He is free and with no worries as if he didn’t do anything. He laughed at me and my family when I made the complaint for the beating he gave me and for disfiguring me.” The woman will need to spend at least a month in hospital.

Resorts in Harare and Bulawayo secretly record guests having sex and then sell the footage (Africa, Zimbabwe)

(It is happening in many hotels around the World, you don't know when photo
of your sexual activities will turn up on Internet for everyone to see! LM)
JULY 08, 2015
RESORTS, where several World Heritage sites are sited, are secretly filming guests having sex and then selling the tapes, according to an ex-worker. Several lodges in and around Bulawayo — Zimbabwe’s second city — are believed to have installed hidden cameras to catch unknowing guests having sex. The former employee told that the lodges involved had originated in the capital Harare but the scam had spread to lodges and low-cost hotels throughout Bulawayo. “The idea is being engineered by Nigerian business people who install the equipment in the rooms and capture unsuspecting clients in the act,” said the man. Hidden cameras can be put into a smoke detector without anyone knowing. He said that in some cases the owners of the lodges are not aware of the existence of the cameras as the Nigerians work with unscrupulous managers and staff at the lodges. It is claimed that the Nigerians pay up to as much as US$1000 for a week’s recording. Bulawayo is known for its wide tree-lined avenues, parks and charming colonial architecture. It is also a popular base for trips to the nearby Khami Ruins and Matobo National Park, and an ideal staging point for Hwange National Park, on the way to Victoria Falls, Lonely Planet reported. Sex workers are also allegedly involved in the scam and will take clients to the rooms where the hidden cameras are installed. The former lodge worker said that tourists should be wary of lodges that always keep their lights on or use light curtains as this is done to enhance lighting in the room for the hidden cameras. “Most cases the rooms involved always have the light on and the switch deliberately made out of order,” he said. He added that tourists and guests should refuse to pay for rooms with malfunctioning light switches or with exceptionally enhanced lighting.

Almost 50 ‘sex victims’ say they were abused at school’s notorious dungeon (Australia, Sydney)
July 07, 2015
DOZENS of women have told police they were sexually assaulted or raped, many of them in a dungeon in a former Sydney girls school. The Daily Telegraph reports nearly 50 women have approached detectives from Strike Force Bilvo, the unit formed to investigate claims of abuse at Parramatta Girls Training School, from the 1960s and 1970s. Their inquiries have focused on two of the three officials who were at the school and are still alive. Two men have been referred to police as part of the largest investigation to come out of the child sex abuse royal commission, which last year examined the experience of women, who were sexually abused as children at the school. Many of the sexual assaults are alleged to have taken place in the dungeon, which was built by convicts and has walls half-a-metre thick. Police want to speak to former staff of the school who worked there between 1960-1973, the Telegraph reported. The royal commission triggered the complainants to come forward, Acting Superintendent Robert Toynton. He said the two living former staff members — Frank Valentine, 75, who lives in Queensland and Sydney-based Noel Greenaway — were at the “centre” of their investigations. Both men have vigorously denied any wrongdoing. Neither gave evidence at the royal commission. In March, the Telegraph reported there were still rings on the walls where handcuffs were shackled to. The dungeon itself was described as a dark and dusty room, that was just six paces long and about four paces wide. One woman told the commission that she was raped in the dungeon a number of times by three men, a superintendent, deputy superintendent and a relieving deputy superintendent.
Pictures: Dungeon at Parramatta Girls School circa 1960. The ring in the wall where girls were handcuffed. The ‘dungeon’ from Parramatta Girls School. The shower room next to the dungeons.

Defiant victim confronts rapist in District Court of South Australia

Darwin, Australia, 2015

Darwin, Australia, Reptilian Violence, 2015

Uluru, AliceSprings, Australia, 2015
July 06, 2015
Picture - Convicted rapist Scott Belcher outside the District Court.
A UNIVERSITY student who was raped by her privately educated friend has defiantly faced him in court as prosecutors submit they are not opposed to his jail sentence being suspended. Scott Braeden Belcher, 20, of Lockleys, has pleaded guilty to rape — five months after initially denying the charges in court — over the incident at Dulwich in October, 2013. As her victim impact statement was read to the District Court on Monday, the woman looked at Belcher and told him his betrayal had changed her life forever. “It is unacceptable for you to believe and act with power and control over women,” she said. “It is every woman’s right to make their own decisions but you thought you were entitled to what you wanted and you put your needs above mine.” The woman said she had felt “victimised” and “blamed” after the rape as Belcher denied responsibility for the crime for almost 18 months. “You took away my power and control to inflict sexual violence on me,” she said.
“Because of your actions you have to sit there (in the dock), but, I am able to stand here. Your actions have taken away my freedom to live my life in a carefree way and now you face the risk of losing your own freedom through those same actions.”
The court heard Belcher had sent an apology SMS text message to the woman two days after the rape but had initially denied the crime until he pleaded guilty in April this year Belcher had earned an academic scholarship at Scotch College and started studying to become an architect. He had since changed to an economics degree and was achieving high marks. The court heard the woman had met Belcher through mutual acquaintances and were friends before the incident.
“My fears for the future are no longer will I get my dream job or will I tick off my whole bucket list,” she said. “Because of Scott Belcher’s actions ... I don't know how long I’m going to have to endure all these overwhelming and unwavering issues and how long will it take to be carefree again. Prosecutor Gina Giorgini said rape cases would normally attract incarceration but she was not opposed to Belcher being spared immediate jail time.
“It is for Your Honour to consider whether there is sufficient material here to justify a suspended sentence, but, in my submission, there are some factors there which do support a suspended sentence,” she said. “The complainant has always expressed her desire that the defendant take responsibility for his actions. That has always been her main focus.” Defence lawyer John Dillon said Belcher accepted that his actions were “absolutely out of order” on the night of the offending.
“This is a man who regrets his actions of that evening and he wished with all his heart to apologise to the victim in respect of what he did that night,” he said. Mr Dillon said Belcher was depressed and had just been through a relationship breakdown when he raped the woman. He said because of Belcher’s young age, his remorse, his psychological mind frame at the time of the rape and unlikeliness to reoffend, a suspended jail sentence was justified. Judge Steven Millsteed said it was a “very sad case. He has no criminal history and he has committed a disgraceful act towards a very pleasant young woman,” he said. “Both appear to have good backgrounds, both appear to be decent people apart from the grave aberration from Mr Dillon’s client.” Judge Millsteed will sentence Belcher next month.

Rebekah King, who was beaten and sexually abused while in care, vows to change foster care system (Australia)
July 01, 2015
Pictures:  Rebekah King with her husband Darren. WHEN Rebekah King was just six years old, her mother went to children services and told them she didn’t want her and her brothers. Rebekah King with her husband Darren and two of their children Keiara and Jed. When it refused to take them in, she then allegedly told them she would “kill them”. According to Rebekah, her mother, an alcoholic prostitute, would regularly threaten to end their lives. It wasn’t until she allegedly admitted trying to strangle Rebekah that the Department of Community Services (DOCS) began to take notice, however she claims they still placed her and her two brothers back into the care of the woman who didn’t want them. It was months before the children were finally removed and placed into a group home. But, sadly, for Rebekah and her brothers, the abuse did not end. Instead, the trio were subjected to varying degrees of physical and emotional abuse for their decade-long stint in the NSW foster care system. Rebekah was made a ward of the state at the age of eight and by the time she turned 13 she had tried to take her own life. She was beaten regularly and was emotionally and verbally abused. She was also sexually abused twice. Once, she claims, by a man who had come to visit her mother, another time while she was in a group home. Rebekah King when she was in foster care. Almost two decades on, Rebekah, who is now a mother of three, says she has dealt with her demons. However, she has not forgiven the system that failed her. And she claims that it still fails hundreds of children every day. Rebekah has set up a Facebook page, The Little Girl that Nobody Wanted, and posted her case file in a bid to share her experience with others. The Sydney mum also started a petition calling for the NSW Government to set up an independent complaints commission that will investigate and stamp out the abuse of children in the foster care system. So far, more than 35,000 people have signed the petition and Rebekah met NSW Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard today to discuss her campaign. “We just have such a messed-up system,” Rebekah explained: “It’s broken. There’s no common sense in it. I was sexually abused both in my mum’s care and in foster care. But it took [DOCS] a long time to get me counselling. I was sexually abused when I was seven or eight years old but they did not get me counselling until I was 12. By then I had learnt to block it out.”  In this extract from Rebekah King’s case file, a social worker writes how a young Rebekah describes being sexually abused. Rebekah explained that, besides the sexual abuse, she was subjected to varying levels of physical abuse and neglect. But it there was one home that was particularly emotionally and physically abusive, the place she refers to as the “house from hell. I remembered being placed with this woman who would put me in the garage for 90 per cent of the day,” she said. “I wasn’t allowed to talk to anybody in the street because I had let people know in the past what was happening. So she hid me, so to speak. I was only allowed inside to go to the bathroom, shower and eat and go to bed.”
Rebekah said the woman’s (reptilian) cruelty also extended to her brother, whose face the foster carer once rubbed in vomit. He was only five years old. “This woman used to belt me across the head,” she said. “She told me I was never allowed to smile in photos because my smile was ugly. She dragged me at least 50m to 100m by my hair to a public cubicle to do whatever she wanted to out of spite. After that, I was placed into another family and it was pretty much the same. I was about nine or 10 then.” Rebekah said that when she turned 18 she became her brothers’ carer, to spare them from further years in the foster care system. Since then she has managed to rebuild her life, married her loving husband Darren, and had their three beautiful children Keiara, 9, Jed, 6, and Braxton, 1. But she still bears the scars of her past. Rather than wallow in them, she wants to raise awareness of what she says is a flawed and broken system in desperate need of repair. “My mum abandoned me, but then my life became hell. The system that was meant to care for me descended into abuse and neglect,” she said. “This system has had so many inquiries, reviews and commissions yet nothing has changed in over 30 years. That’s not good enough anymore. These kids (foster kids) just want some hope and a future to look forward to. Please don’t let the abuse and deaths continue unchecked.”

This is how Reptilians get into the holes in our Luminous bodies and make us to do insane things!

Robin & Kerry Michael - Tasmania

"...However he then goes on to describe how he felt betrayed not just by wife but by the man she was allegedly having an affair with. “To say I cracked and lost it when our quiet mountain descent got real would not do justice to the situation,” he wrote in the post. “The English language cannot describe my anger and rage. I cannot contemplate it. You may think you know what it feels like to take a knife in the stomach, but trust me, the physical equivalent well understates what it felt like in my insides when it hit home. Pain is one thing, but not enough if you had known and loved, and been loved by Kerry, and she betrayed you.” The 63-year-old also wrote that he didn’t know what he had done to “drive her away” but accepted that he would have to accept the consequences of his actions that night in February 2015. “I have done what I did and will bear full consequence,” he wrote. “To my three boys, particularly X, what the hell I have done can never be understood, let alone forgiven.”
Mr Michael wrote that he had “taken something that should never have been taken” and that his family did not deserve the stigma he had bestowed. “I have committed an act of pure evil and pray it failed,” he wrote. “In the heat of the anger with Kerry’s admission I had no control or influence over myself. “But in hindsight that’s a cop out. I was so far gone it was surely insanity at its greatest.” Mr Michael was arrested at the caravan park he and his wife had been staying at in Tasmania after police were alerted by their families about the Facebook post. When they found him, he had self-inflicted injuries. A post-mortem later found Mrs Michael died from a head trauma. Mr Michael, who was being held on remand awaiting trial found dead at Risdon Prison on Sunday night, according to the NT News."

ibok girls 'forced to join Nigeria's Boko Haram', Africa - video

(It is aliens we need to blame, because invisible aliens are getting into males' human bodies through the Holes in Human Luminous Spheres and perform rapes, killings and all kinds of violence for thousands of years! Laws wouldn't help! Women need always imagine themselves as Suns, detach themselves from Planetary Game and sincerely attach themselves to the Intent , to millions of Sun in the Source of All Life - the most powerful Force in the Multiverse! Then no men or rather aliens will touch them any longer! LM)

Africa, Nigeria, Raped and beaten young Girls - 2015

Africa, Nigeria, Children Of raped and beaten Girls
30 June 2015
Some of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria have been forced to join Islamist militant group Boko Haram, the BBC has been told. Witnesses say some are now being used to terrorise other captives, and are even carrying out killings themselves. The testimony cannot be verified but Amnesty International says other girls kidnapped by Boko Haram have been forced to fight. Boko Haram has killed some 5,500 civilians in Nigeria since 2014. Two-hundred-and-nineteen schoolgirls from Chibok, are still missing, more than a year after they were kidnapped from their school in northern Nigeria. Many of those seized are Christians. Three women who claim they were held in the same camps as some of the Chibok girls have told the BBC's Panorama programme that some of them have been brainwashed and are now carrying out punishments on behalf of the militants. Seventeen-year-old Miriam (not her real name) fled Boko Haram after being held for six months. She was forced to marry a militant, and is now pregnant with his child. Recounting her first days in the camp she said: "They told to us get ready, that they were going to marry us off." She and four others refused. Human cost of Boko Haram. 219 of the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok by Boko Haram in April 2014 are still missing. They are among at least 2,000 women and girls abducted by Boko Haram since the start of 2014 (Amnesty figures). Since the start of 2014 Boko Haram has killed an estimated 5,500 civilians in north-east Nigeria (Amnesty figures). Who are Boko Haram?
Chibok: What we know a year on. Why Boko Haram remains a threat. "They came back with four men, they slit their throats in front of us. They then said that this will happen to any girl that refuses to get married." Faced with that choice, she agreed to marry, and was then repeatedly raped. "There was so much pain," she said. "I was only there in body… I couldn't do anything about it." While in captivity, Miriam described meeting some of the Chibok schoolgirls. She said they were kept in a separate house to the other captives. Miriam is pregnant with the child of a member of Boko Haram. "They told us: 'You women should learn from your husbands because they are giving their blood for the cause. We must also go to war for Allah.'"
She said the girls had been "brainwashed" and that she had witnessed some of them kill several men in her village. "They were Christian men. They [the Boko Haram fighters] forced the Christians to lie down. Then the girls cut their throats."
It is not possible to independently verify Miriam's claims. But human rights group Amnesty International said their research also shows that some girls abducted by Boko Haram have been trained to fight. "The abduction and brutalisation of young women and girls seems to be part of the modus operandi of Boko Haram," said Netsanet Belay, Africa director, research and advocacy at Amnesty International.. 'They had guns'. The Chibok schoolgirls have not been seen since last May when Boko Haram released a video of around 130 of them gathered together reciting the Koran. They looked terrified. Amnesty International estimates more than 2,000 girls have been taken since the start of 2014. But it was the attack on the school in Chibok that sparked international outrage. Michelle Obama made a rousing speech a few weeks after their abduction, demanding the girls' return. Millions of people showed their support for the #bringbackourgirls campaign. The hashtag was shared more than five million times. Boko Haram has been trying to establish an Islamic State in the region, but it has recently been pushed back by a military force from Nigeria and its neighbours. Hundreds of women and girls have managed to escape during these raids Anna, aged 60, is one of them. She fled a camp in the Sambisa forest in December where she was held for five months. She now sits beneath a tree close to the cathedral in the Adamawa state capital of Yola. Her only possessions are the clothes she ran away in. She said she saw some of the Chibok schoolgirls just before she fled the forest. "They had guns," she said. Anna, a former Boko Haram captive, claims some of the girls were forced to kill. When pressed on how she could be sure that it is was the Chibok schoolgirls that she'd seen, Anna said: "They [Boko Haram] didn't hide them. They told us: 'These are your teachers from Chibok.'
"They shared the girls out as teachers to teach different groups of women and girls to recite the Koran," Anna recalled. "Young girls who couldn't recite were being flogged by the Chibok girls." Like Miriam, Anna also said she had seen some of the Chibok schoolgirls commit murder.
Conversion attempt
"People were tied and laid down and the girls took it from there… The Chibok girls slit their throats," said Anna. Anna said she felt no malice towards the girls she had seen taking part in the violence, only pity. "It's not their fault they were forced to do it." she added. "Anyone who sees the Chibok girls has to feel sorry for them." Exposing women to extreme violence seemed to be a strategy used by Boko Haram to strip them of their identity and humanity, so they could be forced to accept the militants' ideology. Faith, a Christian, says Boko Haram fighters tried to convert her to their version of Islam. Faith (not her real name) aged 16, who is Christian, described how Boko Haram fighters tried to force her to convert to their version of Islam.
"Every day at dawn they would come and throw water over us and order us to wake up and start praying. Then one day they brought in a man wearing uniform. They made us all line up and then said to me: 'Because you are always crying, you will must kill this man.' "I was given the knife and ordered to cut his neck. I said I couldn't do it. "They cut his throat in front of me. That's when I passed out." Faith said she had seen at least one Chibok schoolgirl who had been married off to a Boko Haram militant during her four months in captivity. "She was just like any of the Boko Haram wives," she explained. "We are more scared of the wives than the husbands."
Long road to recovery
With hundreds of women and children recently rescued from Boko Haram strongholds in the Sambisa forest, the Nigerian government has set up a programme to help escapees. Many fled captivity, only to discover that some or all of their family members had been killed by Boko Haram. Others have been cast out from their communities, who now consider them "Boko Haram wives". Dr Fatima Akilu is in charge of Nigeria's counter-violence and extremism programme. She is currently looking after around 300 of the recently rescued women and children. "We have not seen signs of radicalisation," she told us. "But if it did occur we would not be surprised." And she added: "In situations where people have been held, there have been lots of stories where they have identified with their captors." The girls were seized from their school in northern Nigeria in April 2014. Malnourished children being treated at Yola's main hospital. They were recently rescued from the forest with their mother
Dr Akilu said beatings, torture, rape, forced marriages and pregnancies were common in Boko Haram (Draconian! LM) camps. "We have a team of imams… that are trained to look out for radical ideas and ideology. Recovery is going to be slow, it's going to be long… It's going to be bumpy."
As the hunt for the Chibok schoolgirls continues, and questions are raised about what state they will be in if they ever return home, those who have managed to escape are beginning the mammoth task of coming to terms with their experiences.
"I can't get the images out of my head," said Anna, breaking down in tears. "I see people being slaughtered. I just pray that the nightmares don't return." For others, the nightmare is continuing every day. Miriam is expecting her baby any day now.
"I hope that the baby is a girl," she said. "I would love her more than any boy. I'm scared of having a boy." Miriam's future is bleak. She is terrified her "husband" will find her and kill her for running away. Her community has also rejected her.
"People consider me an outcast," she said. "They remind me that I have Boko Haram inside me."
Panorama: The Missing Stolen School Children is on BBC One

Violence against Women worldwide is 'epidemic'
20 June 2013
The most common type of violence against women is by an intimate partner, the report says. More than one in three women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence, a report by the World Health Organization and other groups says. It says 38% of all women murdered were killed by their partners, and such violence is a major contributor to depression and other health problems. WHO head Margaret Chan said violence against women was "a global health problem of epidemic  proportions". The study also calls for toleration of such attacks worldwide to be halted. And it says new guidelines must be adopted by health officials around the world to prevent the abuse and offer better protection to victims.
'Fear of stigma'
The report on partner and non-partner violence against women was released by the WHO, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). Its authors say it is the first
systematic study of global data, detailing the impact of the abuse on both the physical and mental health of women and girls.
The key findings are:
violence by an intimate partner is the most common type of abuse, affecting 30% of women across the globe
38% of all women murdered were killed by their partners
42% of women physically or sexually abused by partners had injuries as a result
Victims of non-partner attacks were 2.6 times more likely to experience depression and anxiety compared with women who had not experienced violence
Those abused by their partners were almost twice as likely to have similar problems
Victims were more likely to have alcohol problems, abortions and acquire sexually transmitted diseases and HIV
"This new data shows that violence against women is extremely common," said report co-author Prof Charlotte Watts from the LSHTM. "We urgently need to invest in prevention to address the underlying causes of this global women's health problem."
The document adds that "fear of stigma" prevents many women from reporting sexual violence. It stresses that health officials around the world need to take the issue "more seriously", providing better training for health workers in recognising when women may be at risk of violence and ensuring an appropriate response. The WHO says it will start implementing new guidelines together with other organisations at the end of June.

Hate crime: Colombia's new law punishing attacks on Women
3 June 2015
The brutal killing of Rosa Elvira Cely in 2012 caused shock among Colombians. Lawmakers in Colombia passed a bill on Tuesday imposing tough sentences for hate crimes against women. The bill was passed with 104 votes in support and three against. It still needs to be signed by the president to become law. It was named after Rosa Elvira Cely, a woman who was attacked, raped and murdered by a man in a park in the capital, Bogota, in May 2012. Under the new law, those found guilty could face up to 50 years in jail. It imposes longer sentences on crimes where women are targeted specifically because of their gender, including psychological, physical and sexual attacks.
'Endemic violence'
Presidential adviser for women's equality Martha Ordonez said that in Colombia a woman was the victim of a violent act on average every 13 minutes, and that every four days one was killed by her partner. The brutality of the attack on Rosa Elvira Cely brought the issue to the forefront of the national debate in 2012. Thousands of people marched to demand justice for the 35-year-old, who was found half naked and with signs of torture on her body after being attacked and raped in a Bogota park. She died of her injuries four days later. Police arrested a man who was studying at the same night school as Ms Cely. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 48 years in prison. He was later sentenced to additional years in prison for abusing his underage daughters and raping another woman. According to a 2013 World Health Organisation report, more than one in three women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence. It said 38% of all women murdered were killed by their partners,

Argentine marches condemns domestic violence

March Against Domestic Violence, Buenos Aires - 2015

March Against Domestic Violence, Santiago, Chile - 2015
4 June 2015
March against domestic violence in Buenos Aires. 3 June 2015. The march in Buenos Aires took the message to outside congress. Thousands of people are taking part in a march in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires condemning violence against
women. Marches against "femicide" are also taking place in other cities and in neighbouring Chile and Uruguay. The protests follow recent cases of violence against women that have shocked Argentina. Women's rights groups, unions, political
parties and the Catholic Church have all backed the marches. In Buenos Aires, marchers carried banners and wore badges proclaiming "Ni una menos" (Not one less) - the rallying cry for the campaign. Buenos Aires protest outside congress. 3 June 2015. The square outside congress in Buenos Aires was packed with protesters. Protest in Santiago, Chile. 3 June 2015. In Santiago, Chile, protesters lay down to represent victims of femicide. Child carries sign 'Ni una menos' in Buenos Aires. 3 June 2015. 'Not one less' is the protest's rallying cry. Some wore shirts emblazoned with the photos of the victims of domestic violence. Football star Lionel Messi, who is backing the movement, wrote on Facebook: "Enough femicides. We join all Argentines today in shouting out loud 'not one woman less'." Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner also took to social media, condemning a "culture that devastates women". In the Chilean capital, Santiago, about 100 protesters gathered with signs reading "Mourning and outraged". Several thousand people also marched in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo. Recent cases of violence against women in Argentina include the murder in April of a kindergarten teacher by her estranged husband in front of her class in the central province of Cordoba. There has also been outrage at the killing of a 14-year-old girl whose boyfriend is accused of beating her to death because she was pregnant. Argentina adopted a femicide law in 2012 with tough penalties for domestic violence. Other Latin American countries have also written similar laws into their penal codes. However, campaigners say the laws are not being effectively implemented.

Australia's 'perfect storm' of domestic violence

Quentin Bryce - Former Governor-General in Australia

Rosie Batty
20 October 2014
Cases including the murder of Luke Batty by his father have heightened debate over domestic violence. A spate of family murders in Victoria has pushed the issue of domestic violence to the forefront of the state's election campaign. But it is not only in Victoria. Across Australia, a spotlight is being shone on the failure of government agencies to protect women and children from violent partners and fathers. The murder of Melbourne woman Kelly Thompson by her ex-partner in February this year was not unusual. On average, one woman is killed every week across Australia by a current or former partner, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology. Ms Thompson was stabbed to death in her home by Wayne Wood, who then killed himself. In the months preceding her death, she had spoken to police about Wood's violent behaviour many times and he had regularly breached a police intervention order, that was supposed to prevent him going within 200m of her house. Her story highlighted how courts and police often fail women and children when they are in most need of protection. Six months after she was killed, Ms Thompson's parents joined Victoria's leading family violence organisations on the steps of the Victorian parliament to speak out at the launch of the No More Deaths campaign. Wendy Thompson said the police "miserably failed" her daughter. "And they've failed two people that are now dead and families that are shattered. And it should never have happened," she told ABC TV.
Political action
The No More Deaths campaign has called on Victoria's political parties to commit to wide-ranging policies to keep women and children safe ahead of the 29 November election. All three of Victoria's parties - the Coalition, Labor and The Greens -
attended the launch. The Greens have adopted much of the campaign's platform, the Labor Party has promised a royal commission into family violence, and the Coalition government has announced a A$150m ($131m; £81m) action package.
The commitments have not come too soon, says Domestic Violence Victoria chief executive officer Fiona McCormack.
"The rates at which Australian women are being assaulted and terrorised are obscene, but particularly the number of women and children being murdered in Victoria," she says. "Every family that we speak to says the same thing: they want the death of their family member to be the catalyst for a turning point in how we respond to this issue."
A combination of factors made this the right time to launch the campaign in Victoria, says senior policy officer at the Federation of Community Legal Centres, Chris Atmore. "This year, there has been a lot of media attention on several family violence killings, that really touched the public and as a consequence, touched politicians, particularly because two of these killings happened in public," says Dr Atmore. The Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce makes a speech during her farewell reception at Parliament House on 25 March 2014 in Canberra, Australia. Former governor-general Quentin Bryce is chairing a task force on family violence in Queensland. In April, 33-year-old Fiona Warzywoda was stabbed to death by her partner, Craig McDermott, in a busy suburban shopping centre in Melbourne. Only hours before, she had attended court in relation to an order preventing McDermott from approaching her. "That case really touched the community directly, the people in the shopping centre, the shopkeepers … and there was a public vigil organised by her family," says Mr Atmore. The emergence of Luke Batty's mother as an articulate advocate for the rights of women and children at risk has also changed public attitudes, she says. In February, 11-year-old Luke was beaten with a cricket bat and then stabbed by his father in front of horrified onlookers at a cricket training session in rural Victoria. "Rosie Batty has emerged as an extraordinary advocate for change… politicians have been falling over themselves to meet her," says Dr Atmore. "It's almost like a perfect storm… We have had a sense that our politicians are taking the issue more seriously in recent months because we have been invited to sit at the table." Rosie Batty, the mother of Luke, has become a passionate anti-violence activist, attends the funeral service of 11-year-old Luke Batty at the Flinders Community College 21 February 2014 in Tyabb, Australia.
Legislators and police have been under pressure in other states and public attitudes about the issue are being questioned. In Queensland, former governor-general Dame Quentin Bryce last month said the gravity and severity of domestic violence in that state was far worse than people realised. Dame Quentin is chairing a task force reviewing the service and facilities available to victims of family violence.
In Western Australia, the family of murdered indigenous woman Andrea Pickett, a mother of 13 children, are suing the state government and police service in what lawyers are calling a landmark case. They are suing over the authorities' failure to act  despite Ms Pickett's numerous reports to police about her estranged husband's violence. In New South Wales, the Labor Party says it will establish a specialist court for domestic violence and sexual assault cases if it wins next year's state election. Moo Baulch, acting chief executive officer of community organisation Domestic Violence NSW, welcomed Labor's announcement. However, she said many people still view domestic violence as something that happens behind closed doors. She is disturbed that some media have portrayed Geoff Hunt, who in September killed his wife and children on their rural property in NSW and then killed himself, as a victim. There have been suggestions Mr Hunt had snapped because of the burden of looking after his disabled wife. "In this day and age, it is amazing that we will make this kind of excuse for a murder. As a nation we have got a long way to go," says Ms Baulch.

Australia female-campaigner blames men for family violence

Australia - Domestic Violence 2015 Protests

Prime-Minister Abbott Tony & Women

Rosie Batty

By Wendy Frew - Australia editor, BBC News Online
4June 2015
Women protesting domestic violence. Surveys show many Australians still blame women for violence perpetrated by men. Last September, Geoff Hunt murdered his wife and three children on their New South Wales farm and then killed himself.
The 44-year-old farmer shot his three children - Fletcher, 10, Mia, 8, and Phoebe, 6 - inside the family home near Lockhart, 80km south of Wagga Wagga. He killed his wife, Kim, on a path at the back of the house. Locals were horrified but quickly
attributed Hunt's violence to the stress of farm life and the strain on the family from injuries Kim sustained in a car accident two years earlier. Rumours swept the town suggesting Kim - who had a brain injury, dragged one foot and did not have the full use of one of her arms - could have committed the murders. Newspaper headlines described five deaths instead of four murders and one suicide, and media reports quoted neighbours, friends and family describing Hunt as a nice man who loved his family. But nice men who love their families do not murder them, says Rosie Batty. This year's Australian of the Year 2015, and an articulate campaigner against domestic violence says we must stop making excuses for the perpetrators and stop
blaming the victims. Rosie Batty is changing the debate in Australia about domestic violence. In a powerful speech delivered on Wednesday to the National Press Club in Canberra, Ms Batty - herself a victim of domestic violence - said what many
others have not: Australia suffers from a "misguided and damaging narrative that ultimately lets perpetrators off the hook".
A woman is killed in Australia almost every week by a partner or ex-partner. More than half of people believe that a woman could leave a violent relationship if she really wanted to.
Statistics from Domestic Violence Victoria
"Why didn't she take her children out of such a violent situation?', or 'She was wearing headphones', or 'She was drunk and out late on her own' are just some of the assertions, that blame survivors for the violence inflicted upon them," Ms Batty told a room of journalists, as she launched a national media awards scheme to recognise exemplary reporting of violence against women. In February, last year, her 11-year-old son Luke was beaten with a cricket bat and then stabbed to death by his father, Greg Anderson, at a cricket training session in rural Victoria. Police shot dead Anderson at the scene. Luke Batty's father was known to police for violence towards his family. Since then, Ms Batty has emerged as a powerful advocate for the rights of women and children at risk and has sparked a national debate about public attitudes to domestic violence and the lack of government support for the victims.
Media's influence
In January, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said domestic violence was the most urgent matter for state and federal governments to tackle and called for agreement on a national domestic violence order scheme, that would protect victims, who fled
interstate from their attackers. Mr Abbott also appointed Ms Batty to a panel advising governments on family violence. Ms Batty says her experience with the media has been mostly positive, but she says the way the Hunt murders were reported
shows many people still blame women while making excuses for the violent behaviour of men. Research suggests news coverage influences both public policy and public opinion on topics such as gender-based violence.
Australian PM Tony Abbott at the 2015 Australian of the Year awards, January 2015 (photo). Rosie Batty wants Prime Minister Tony Abbott to do more about domestic violence :
"The media isn't just telling my story. It is telling the story of one in six women in Australia, who are affected by intimate partner violence," says Ms Batty. "It's telling the story of the children, who witness this violence, as more than half of these women had children in their care when the violence occurred."
Family 'terrorism'
Family violence has always been a part of Australian life but for a long time no one wanted to talk about it, she says. She has called for a bipartisan approach to the issue, substantial investment in long-term strategies, re-instatement of funding cut from frontline services, and the removal of means-testing for women seeking advice at community legal centres. Ms Batty says it is amazing that at a time when it has been threatening to cut spending across the board, the federal government has not baulked at funding new counter-terrorism projects.
"So, let's start calling it family terrorism and perhaps we start to see that investment of funding being applied where it needs to be," she says, noting the very high number of Australian women who suffer violence at the hands, not of terrorists, but of the men in their lives.
"If you have three sisters or three daughters, one of them will encounter violence. If you work with at least six women, one of them has experienced violence by a current or former partner."
Ms Batty also wants the judicial system to stop giving men, who have beaten or killed their partners regular access to their children. Courts should also give media permission to write about more of the cases that come before them. [Rules vary, but most Australian courts have strict rules about reporting anything that might identify a child connected to a case.]

India's first transgender college principal

Transgender - Manobi Bandyopadhyay - India, 2015; below - Transgender People, India
28 May 2015
Manobi Bandyopadhyay has been appointed as the principal of a women's college. Her Facebook page is overflowing with messages complimenting her for her new job. Congratulations, you have hit the headlines, writes a student, attaching a
newspaper story headlined "Bengal college to have India's first transgender principal". "We salute your courage," writes a friend. "Yes, it has taken some courage. It's been a struggle to be accepted as a transgender professional," says Manobi
Bandyopadhyay, 51, shouting over the din of heavy traffic down a telephone line from Kolkata (Calcutta). Born into a lower-middle class family - her father was a factory worker, while her mother is a homemaker - Ms Bandyopadhyay went to school on the outskirts of Kolkata before heading off to a prominent city college to study Bengali. She wrote a paper on women's rights and joined a college in a remote village in a Maoist-affected region in West Bengal to teach Bengali. In 2003, she says, she decided to go in for hormone replacement and surgery to change her sex. At work, she completed a dissertation on the role of transgenders in West Bengal, where their population exceeds 30,000. She says her troubles began when she changed her gender and her name in 2006. Authorities refused to recognise the change, and she was denied pay rises at college "because they could not come to terms with my altered gender. There were taunts at work about my sex change. At home, my parents and siblings were worried sick whether my body would be able to cope with the changes." Her life - and identity - went into limbo. It took five years and a new government in West Bengal - led by a feisty woman politician herself - to "recognise my status and give me my identity", Ms Bandyopadhyay says. "I have always been popular with my students, but my colleagues and peers were not always so favourably disposed after I changed my gender." Manobi Bandyopadhyay (right) says she has endured broken relationships. Most of India's estimated two million transgendered people face discrimination, live on the fringes and often languish in poverty. Many are forced into sex work and suffer ostracisation because of their gender. Things have been getting better though. In 2009, India's election authorities allowed transgenders to choose their gender as "other" on ballot forms. Last year, the Supreme Court declared the transgender community as a third gender and ordered the government to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities, as well as key amenities. India now has a transgender anchor on a TV news show and a popular talk show host. Earlier this year, a transgender woman became the country's first to win municipal elections and be declared a mayor. At least two states - Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra - have government-mandated transgender welfare organisations for their social inclusion. Members of the transgender community celebrate the passage of a bill seeking equal rights for transgenders in the country’s upper house, in Bhubaneswar, India, Friday, April 24, 2015. Things have been looking up for India's transgender people. Authorities in West Bengal have also had a welcome change of heart. A government minister has welcomed Ms Bandyopadhyay's appointment. The vice-chancellor of the university to which the college is affiliated has described her as a "fine human being, a good academician and an able administrator". A newspaper wrote about her visit to the college on Tuesday "sporting Raybans glasses, curly hair done up in a careless coiffure". It's been a long, strange trip for Ms Bandyopadhyay: a life-altering sex change in the middle of a teaching career, broken relationships, adopting a favourite student as her son, writing an exhaustive account of her life, a fun gig on a Bengali version of the popular reality show Big Brother. She loves going to the movies, and lists Michael Jackson as one of her likes on Facebook. Now she wants to run a women's college, and look after her 92-year-old father, who lives close to her new workplace. "This is a new chapter in her life," Debashish Gupta, her adopted son, tells me. "We are happy and we are tense. People can be very cruel, and want to trip her. Life as a transgender can be an eternal challenge.

India heatwave death toll passes 1,000 (it's 3000 deaths in June, LM) - video
27 May 2015
"There is no respite for Indians who have to earn their living despite the extreme heat, as Zubair Ahmed reports. The death toll in the heatwave sweeping India has passed 1,000, with temperatures nearing 50C (122F) in some areas. Most deaths have taken place in the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where at least 1,118 people have died since last week. Reports say at least 24 people have died from the heat in West Bengal and Orissa. Temperatures are likely to drop in some parts over the coming days. Hospitals are on alert to treat heatstroke patients and authorities have advised people to stay indoors. An Indian woman with her face covered crosses the road on the outskirts of Hyderabad on May 25, 2015. More than 800 people have died in the worst-hit state of Andhra Pradesh. An Indian labourer takes a break as he drinks water to get respite from heat in New Delhi on May 26, 2015. There have been calls for the establishment of drinking water camps
Heatwave conditions have been prevailing in the two worst-affected southern Indian states since mid-April, but most of the deaths have happened in the past week. In the worst-hit state of Andhra Pradesh, where temperatures climbed to 47C on Monday, 852 people have died.
"The state government has taken up education programmes through television and other media to tell people not to venture into the outside without a cap, to drink water and other measures," news agency AFP quoted P Tulsi Rani, special commissioner for disaster management in the state, as saying. "We have also requested NGOs and government organisations to open up drinking water camps so that water will be readily available for all the people in the towns," he added.
In neighbouring Telangana state, 266 people have died in the last week as temperatures hit 48C (118F) over the weekend. Alfred Innes lives in its capital Hyderabad and says members of the public have received little help so far.
"I have personally witnessed the death of a three-year-old very close to where I stay and that was because of severe heat. It's very sad. "The government isn't doing much, but as individuals we are trying our best," he added.
Temperatures fell slightly in Telangana on Tuesday, and are expected to start dropping in Andhra Pradesh by the end of the week. The weather is likely to cool further when the summer monsoon begins at the end of the month. What is a heatwave?
Indian rickshaw pullers sleep in their rickshaws on a hot summer day in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 21, 2015. Heatwaves are defined as periods of abnormally high temperatures and usually occur between March and June in India
May is the country's hottest month, with thermometers reaching a maximum of 41C (104F) in New Delhi. Longer, more severe heatwaves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally. Intense heat can cause cramps, exhaustion and heat stroke
Thousands of people died across India during heatwaves in 2002 and 2003. In 2010 around 300 people were killed by intense temperatures, according to media reports..."

India marital rape victims' lonely battle for justice
26 May 2015
Victims of marital rape refuse to give up the fight. A government minister recently stirred a debate when he told the parliament that marital rape could not be criminalised in India as "marriages are sacrosanct" in the country. BBC Hindi's Parul Agarwal reports on the controversy. Tying and untying a piece of cloth around her face, Rashmi (not her real name) tries to conceal her identity as we prepare to interview her on camera. "If my landlord identifies me, he will throw me out," she says. The 25-year-old is a victim of marital rape and is fighting a lonely battle for justice.
"I was only a toy for him which he thought he could use differently every night. Whenever we had a fight, he would take it out on me in bed. There were times I pleaded with him to stay away because I was unwell, but he would not take a no for an answer, not even during my periods."
In India, it is not a crime for a man to rape his wife. And many believe that marriage is a source of sexual satisfaction for men and, therefore, women must submit.
No equality
In February, India's Supreme Court rejected Rashmi's plea to declare marital rape a criminal offence. The court said it was not possible to order a change in the law for one person. Rashmi's story is similar to any other educated young woman in India who fell in love with an office colleague and married him. But their relationship has never been about "consent" and "equality", she says. In a government survey, 10% of the women interviewed said their husbands had forced them to have sex.
"I still remember the night of 14 February 2014, which was also his birthday. We had a heated argument and then he forced himself on me. I resisted as hard as I could, but he didn't stop. And then he inserted a torch inside me. I had to be admitted to hospital and I bled for 60 days after that."
Campaigners have long demanded, that marital rape be criminalised in India. A committee formed after the December 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi to suggest criminal law reforms recommended, that martial rape should invite the same punishment as any other rape. The government of the day, led by the Congress party, rejected the recommendation. Victims of marital rape, however, refuse to give up the fight. Pooja, mother of three daughters, suffered in silence for 14 years before she could muster the courage to come out and file a case of domestic violence against her husband. The prime reason for their separation, she says, is "forced and violent sex".
"I had no right to say no  because I was his wife. I was managing the children and the house singlehandedly. But he never showed any consideration." Pooja has now separated from her husband, but she refuses to legally divorce him because she thinks, that would allow him to remarry. "I cannot let him use me and move on to another woman and ruin her life. I don't want a divorce, I want him to be punished," she says.
Widely prevalent
Supreme Court lawyer Karuna Nundy, who specialises in human rights litigation and gender justice says Indian law provides little relief to victims of marital rape. "At the moment, a wife can file a case under the domestic violence act, which are dealt with in a civil court. It gives a woman a legal right to separate from her husband on the grounds of cruelty.
Marital rape victim. Victims of martial rape say society often blames them for maligning the institution of marriage.
"But what is the legal provision to punish the act of crime? Any sexual act, which is forced or is being done without the consent of the woman is a crime. The relationship of the victim with the perpetrator makes no difference."
A number of studies done over the years suggest that sexual violence in marriage is prevalent in India. The last National Family Health Survey (2005-2006), conducted among 124,385 women in 29 Indian states, had 10% women reporting that their husbands had physically forced them to have sex. Another study conducted by the International Centre for Women (ICRW) and United Nations Population Fund's (UNPFA) across seven states in India last year covered 9,205 men and 3,158 women aged 18-49 from each state. One-third of the men interviewed admitted to having forced a sexual act on their wives. The victims of "marital rape" say they fight a lonely battle because their suffering falls under no category of Indian legal system. Moreover, society often blames them for maligning the institution of marriage. As we wrap up the interview, Rashmi uncovers her face and says: "On every court hearing, I see my husband and his family completely unaffected and without any regrets about what has happened. "Why is it that a woman has to hide her identity to stop being hounded? Why am I looked down upon if I tell the world that I have been raped by my husband?"

Child trafficking on the rise - Barnardo's - video
13 January 2013
Children's charity, Barnardo's, says there has been an alarming rise in youngsters being sexually exploited. It said the number of victims known to the charity increased by 22% last year, and there had been a sharp rise in vulnerable children being trafficked within the UK. The Home Office says significant progress is being made to implement a national action plan to tackle the problem. But Barnardo's is calling on the government to do more to protect young people.

'I was trafficked into UK prostitution -video
10 April 2015
Nearly 800 Women and girls working in the sex trade were identified as the victims of human trafficking last year, according to National Crime Agency figures seen by the Victoria Derbyshire programme. Organisations working with victims, including the Poppy Project, say the figure underestimates the scale of the problem and has been rising sharply in recent years. It is a fate experienced by Ope, 24, who in 2005 met a man offering to help her leave her life in Nigeria and find employment abroad. Her role, he said, would be as a nanny, or in a factory. She did not realise she would be forced into prostitution. Following a treacherous four-day trip by boat, with little food or water, she arrived in Madrid, Spain, where she was put to work on the streets. But after becoming the victim of rape, she was transferred to the UK by her traffickers. "It was like I was a slave," she says, on the work forced upon her. One day, while being allowed to buy food in the market, she found a lost wallet containing identification. Taking money from her traffickers, she decided to run away. But when she boarded a train at King's Cross St Pancras in London, Ope was stopped by an immigration officer and later sent to HMP Holloway. While in prison, she was helped by the Poppy Project charity, before she was recognised by the court as a victim of human trafficking. All criminal charges against Ope have now been dropped, but she may have to return to Nigeria, where she fears being re-trafficked.

Struggling with sexism in Latin America

Women-Presidents in Brazil and Argentina

Upper photo - women in Brazil; lower photo - Women cover themselves in Mexico
By Katy Watson BBC Mexico and Central America reporter
18 August 2015
I have one particularly large wrinkle between my eyebrows I put down to scowling while living in Mexico in my 20s, trying to ward off the hisses and catcalls in the street. Mexican women sit outside a cantina. There was one day, though, when
I dropped the scowl and chose another tactic.  A scorching summer afternoon, I had popped into a corner shop to buy some water. As I waited to cross the road, two men in a van started to shout out remarks about my body.  I tried to ignore it, but then something inside me snapped. I removed the lid of my water bottle and squeezed the entire ice-cold contents in their faces. The comments certainly stopped, and I felt a whole lot better. A few years later, I moved to the Middle East. At first, it felt like the polar opposite of Latin America. Saudi womenThe cliched image of women in Saudi Arabia... Rio Carnival reveller...compared with that in Brazil. A region where men and women do not always interact and where the cliched image of a woman veiled from head-to-toe in black could not be further removed from the equally cliched image of women in bikinis during the Rio Carnival. But look beyond the obvious, and the two regions have much in common when it comes to the role of women. Protecting women's honour is a fundamental part of Middle Eastern culture, and it is often used as an excuse for preventing women from having equal rights as men.  You need a man to drive you places in Saudi Arabia, and you need the permission of a male guardian to travel. One by one, rules limit the way women can live freely. I often thought about how this compared with the machista culture so prevalent in Latin America - a concept that emphasises manliness.
My Portuguese teacher once tried to explain the difference between sexism and machismo. "Sexism is bad," he said, "but machismo isn't - it's a way of protecting women." I am still struggling to find the positive differences to be honest.
Whether it is honour or so-called machismo, the end result is the same. Women become second-class citizens. But it can be a hard one to crack, says feminist Catalina Ruiz-Navarro who is Colombian and lives in Mexico City. Men in Latin America are often proud of being machista and many women like their "protective" macho men.
Brazil and Argentina both have female presidents. President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
"It's a very Latin belief," she says. "If he isn't being jealous and possessive he doesn't want to be with you and he doesn't love you. Men are taught to be this way and women are taught to want it."
What is freedom?
Since moving back to Latin America, I have lost count of the times I have been asked what it was like as a woman living in the Middle East. "It must have been so hard," people say. To be honest, living in cities such as Mexico City can often feel harder. While many of my female friends have smiled knowingly at my response, others flatly reject it. "Women here are free," said one. "What's wrong with being complimented in the street? They are appreciating our beauty," said another.
If your "freedom" on the way to work is curtailed by threatening sexual comments, and you are made to feel like an object and not a human being, I question whether that is true liberty.
Having recently spent some time in the Cuban capital, Havana, constantly being hissed at, the word that comes to mind is more "trapped" than "free".
Depressing data
Wherever you look, the statistics are depressing.
In Egypt, female genital mutilation has been banned since 2008 - but government figures show that over 90% of women in Egypt under 50 have experienced FGM.
A 2013 UN study indicated that 99.3% of Egyptian women had experienced some kind of sexual harassment.
But dig around and the statistics in Latin America are pretty grim too.
Commuters on bus in Bogota, ColombiaThe public transport system in Colombia's capital, Bogota, was recently ranked the most dangerous in the world for women
A recent survey by YouGov for the Thomson Reuters Foundation indicated that of the most dangerous public transport systems for women in the world, the top three were in Latin America: Bogota, Mexico City, Lima
In Mexico City, they have tried to curb harassment by introducing women-only carriages on the metro, although to mixed success - I often see men getting on in those areas, ignored by authorities.
Women and the law
Latin America has made massive steps - it has female leaders in several countries including Argentina, Chile and Brazil. And Latin American countries signed the Convention of Belem do Para in 1994, which committed countries to improving, women's rights and influenced several laws on violence against women. But law is one thing, reality is another. In neither Latin America or the Middle East does the law adequately protect women against sexual violence. In the United Arab Emirates there have been cases of women who have reported rape and ended up being thrown in jail, accused of extra-marital sex. But countries such as Brazil and Mexico are in the top 10 most dangerous countries to be a woman. Mural reading 'No More Femicides' in Ecatepec, Mexico StateMural reading: "No more femicides", in Ecatepec, Mexico State. Dangers faced by women in Latin America. According to the UN, a woman is assaulted every 15 seconds in Brazil's biggest city, Sao Paulo. In Mexico, it is estimated more than 120,000 women are raped a year - that is one every four minutes. According to Mexico's Femicide Observatory, 1,258 girls and women were reported to have disappeared between 2011 and 2012 in the State of Mexico alone. Between 2011 and 2013, 840 women were killed, 145 of these killings were investigated as femicides. Some 53% of Bolivian women aged 15-49 have reported physical or sexual violence in their lives, according to the Pan American Health Organization. About 38% of women in Ecuador say wife-beating is justified for at least one reason. This is not an essay limiting the issues of sexism to Latin America and the Middle East. Far from it. This is about my experience working in both Latin America and the Middle East as a woman - the parallels, the peculiarities and the paradoxes. I fully realise this is a global issue that has many realities in different societies - rich and poor, conservative and liberal. Indeed, many of my friends in the Middle East and Latin America look at Europe as a place to learn from. But not long ago a British colleague in his 30s showed surprise when I told him my partner was relocating because of my job. He replied: "But surely when you have babies, you will start following him?"
He was lucky he did not get that bottle of water over his face too.

Smugglers help enslaved Yazidis escape Islamic State - video
18 August 2015
The brutal experience has left left many traumatised, as Nafiseh Kohnavard reports. When members of the Yazidi religious minority fled as Islamic State (IS) militants swept across northern Iraq a year ago, several thousand women and girls were captured and enslaved. But hundreds have now been freed thanks to a network of smugglers run by an Iraqi businessman, as BBC Persian's Nafiseh Kohnavard reports.
It is almost 01:00 on the Iraqi-Turkish border and the guards are preparing to close the gates for the night.
As passengers hurry to get on the last buses heading into Turkey, a Yazidi family are standing silently, eyes fixed on the crossing point.
Suddenly, a woman and four children appear from the Turkish side. The family rush to greet them and the whole group dissolves into tears.
As they hug each other they keep looking into each other's eyes, unable to believe they are finally together again.
Khatoon, 35, and her children - aged between four and 10 - were captured by IS militants who stormed their village in Iraq's Sinjar region in August 2014.
They were taken to Raqqa, the de facto capital of the caliphate declared by IS two months earlier.
Khatoon looks exhausted and barely able to stand.
"It was horrible," she says. "They didn't give us enough food or water, or let us wash. Sometimes they beat us."
Khatoon and her children owe their freedom to an Iraqi businessman named Abdullah, who used to buy agricultural goods from Syria but now buys people held captive by IS.
After reuniting Khatoon with her family, Abdullah takes us to his modest house and introduces us to his 22-year-old niece, Marwa.
Like Khatoon, Marwa and 55 of her relatives were seized by IS fighters in Sinjar a year ago.
Two months later, Marwa managed to contact her uncle and tell him she was being held in a house in Raqqa,
"I told her: 'They can't understand Kurdish, so listen carefully. If you can find a way to get out of that house, I'll try to find someone to bring you back," Abdullah says.
Marwa, a released Yazidi womanMarwa was held at a house in Islamic State's headquarters of Raqqa in Syria
One night Marwa managed to steal the front-door key and make her escape.
"I waved down a taxi," she says. "The driver asked me where I was going. At first he said he was scared, because if he was seen with me, IS would kill both of us.
"But in the end he agreed to take me to another part of town, where there were good people who could help me."
The next day she tried to call her uncle but her IS captor had found out where she was staying. He demanded that the family who had taken her in either to return her, or to buy her from him for $7,500 (£4,810).
He also contacted her uncle.
"I told him: 'OK, give me some time and I'll send the money to you. But don't touch my niece,'" says Abdullah.
He began calling old business contacts in Syria and eventually secured Marwa's release.
Setting a price
Over the past year, Abdullah has built up a network of contacts and smugglers across Syria, Turkey and Iraq and managed to free more than 300 mainly Yazidi women and children from IS captivity.
He has found it costs between $6,000 (£3,850) and $35,000 (£22,450) to buy someone back from IS.
For young girls the asking price is even higher, and even babies are not exempt.
Abdullah, an Iraqi businessman who has helped secure the release of hundreds of Yazidis captured by Islamic StateAbdullah says much of the ransom money goes to the smugglers rather than IS
"Once a family had to pay $6,000 for 30-day-old baby," says Abdullah.
For many families finding that amount of money is almost impossible.
Khatoon and her children were freed after her father-in-law, Mardan, paid $35,000.
"I sold everything I had," he told the BBC. "I had to go door-to-door borrowing money. Now I have to pay it all back, but I'm penniless and 17 members of my family are still being held by IS."
Not all operations to buy back captives are successful.
Earlier this year, Mardan raised $35,000 to secure the release of his other daughter-in-law and her two children.
However, the Kurdish smuggler who was acting as go-between was killed and the $17,500 that he was supposed to be passing on to the IS captors was lost.
They are now demanding that Mardan sends another $10,000 if he wants to see his daughter-in-law and grandchildren again.
'Only option is to trade'
Although Abdullah says much of the money involved in ransom operations goes to the people smugglers rather than IS, he knows his activities are helping to fill the group's coffers. But he sees no other way to reunite the captured Yazidis with their families.
"For IS women and girls are nothing more than goods and our only option is to trade them like you would trade goods and products over the border," he explains.
The most difficult part of these operations, he says, is confirming that contacts on the IS side are genuine.
Over the past year, four of the 23 smugglers working with Abdullah have been killed by IS.
Yazidi women and children released by Islamic StateIraqi authorities have set up an office to co-ordinate efforts to secure the Yazidis' return
"Sometimes they call and tell us to come and pick up some Yazidis," he says. "But when we send someone into IS territory, they are captured and killed."
The Iraqi government and the Iraqi Kurdish authorities have now set up an office to co-ordinate efforts to secure the return of Yazidi captives, But it is clear they are struggling to cope.
"There are still too many people being held by IS and we haven't got enough money to pay smugglers to bring all of them back," says Noori Osman Abdulrahman, the Kurdistan Regional Government's co-ordinator for Yazidi affairs.
For many families, going it alone with Abdullah's help is the only option.
However much ransom is paid, it is clear that for both the captives and those who have been waiting for them that it is the emotional cost of their ordeal that will take the highest toll.
Marwa, is still struggling to come to terms with what happened.
"When I get upset, I get panic attacks and can't breathe," she says. "I get flashbacks about what happened to me and all the other girls."
Despite Abdullah's efforts, so far she is the only one from her family to have escaped.

In pictures: PKK (females) fighters prepare for battle with IS (Islamic State)

Girls-Fighters, Middle-East

20 August 2015
For the three decades, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has been fighting the Turkish government. The PKK is considered a terrorist organisation by the Turkish authorities and several Western states, but it is now a key player in the battle against the jihadist group Islamic State (IS). BBC Persian's Jiyar Gol was granted rare access to a PKK training camp in northern Iraq.
Ruken, a 21-year-old ethnic Turkmen, gets ready for training at a PKK camp in northern IraqRuken, a 21-year-old ethnic Turkmen, has been in the mountains for eight months and is getting ready to be deployed. "I joined the PKK to defend human values, to fight for Women's Equality," she says. Vian (right), a 20-year-old Yazidi PKK fighterVian (right) is a 20-year-old member of the Yazidi religious group. She says she was lucky to escape from IS militants when they overran her village of Cherghasem, in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq, last August. "They killed many of us. It wasn't right to remain silent. First I came to fight for Sinjar, but now I want to fight the AKP [ruling Turkish party] and to fight in all parts of Kurdistan.
I'll go anywhere the PKK commanders need me." PKK fighters dance after the funeral of four comrades killed by IS. Fighting IS has come at a hefty price for the PKK. After burying the bodies of four comrades killed in Syria, these fighters dance defiantly - men and women, hand in hand - in an attempt to boost morale. PKK fighters watch Amrin, a Yazidi, fire a machine-gun at a camp in northern Iraq. Aveen is a 19-year-old Yazidi from Sinjar. She was captured when IS militants stormed her village and was held for two months before managing to escape. Instead of going to a refugee camp, she joined the PKK. Her commander advised not to ask about what happened to her in captivity, but the scars on her face and hands were a silent testimony to what she went through. She says she is now ready to face her abductors again. An instructor talks about the PKK to recruits at a training camp in northern IraqInstructors teach recruits about the PKK's philosophy and aims, as well as military strategy and tactics. More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK began fighting for an independent Kurdish state in 1984. In the 1990s, the organisation rolled back on that demand, calling instead for greater cultural and political autonomy. PKK fighter march from their base in Iraq towards the frontline with Islamic State in SyriaThe fighters have to travel for days to reach the frontline in Syria. The same discipline and motivation that makes the PKK so effective against IS also makes them a threat in the Turkish government's eyes. Hundreds of fighters are ready to face IS, but recent Turkish air strikes have made it difficult to move around. A PKK fighter guards a village in northern Iraq bombed by the Turkish military. In 2013, the Turkish government and the PKK agreed a ceasefire. Clashes continued, but last month the truce appeared to disintegrate after the PKK killed two police officers it claimed had collaborated with IS in a bomb attack in the town of Suruc that left 32 pro-Kurdish activists dead. The Turkish military responded to both incidents by launching air strikes on PKK camps in northern Iraq and IS positions near its border with Syria. Female PKK fighters braid each other's hair at a camp in northern IraqWhen not practicing their battlefield skills, these female fighters could almost be mistaken for ordinary teenagers. But their stories are far from ordinary. Rojhat Karakosh is one the instructors. He was on Mount Sinjar, where thousands of Yazidis took shelter when IS swept across Iraq last year, and was injured twice in battle. He can't fight now, so he's helping teach the new recruits. "There were many other forces in the region. They ran away from IS, but we stayed," he says. Narin Jamishd, a Kurd from Turkey, joined the PKK four years ago. "For the IS militants, women should be imprisoned at home and used as sexual objects," she says. "They are afraid of independent women." Male and female PKK fighters talk in northern Iraq. About 40% of PKK fighters are females. All PKK forces have joint female-male leadership and men and women fight IS side by side. However, sexual relationships are strictly prohibited.

Paris 'love (sex) locks' removed from bridges
1 june 2015
Close to one million locks weighing 45 tonnes are due to be cut off over the next few days, as Lucy Williamson reports. Paris city officials have started to remove padlocks symbolically fastened to one of the French capital's main bridges by loved-up couples. Tying a "love lock" on to the Pont des Arts before throwing the key into the River Seine beneath has become a tourist tradition in recent years. But part of the bridge's railings collapsed under the weight last year. Close to one million locks - weighing 45 tonnes - are due to be cut off over the next few days. Workmen began removing grilles from the side of the Pont des Arts early on Monday morning. The Pont de l'Archeveche, near the Notre Dame cathedral, is also having locks removed from its side. Metal grilles on the side of the Pont des Arts, which dates from 1804, will be replaced by panels painted by street artists over the summer, before transparent panels are put in place later this year. "It's the end of the padlocks," said Bruno Julliard, Paris deputy mayor. "They spoil the aesthetics of the bridge, are structurally bad for it and can cause accidents." See-through panels will replace the grilles on the Pont des Arts. Part of the Pont des Arts collapsed last year. Cathy Hominage, an American tourist, told the Reuters news agency: "We came with the idea of putting a lock but we found out it's closed and illegal now. "We are just going to put it here at the very end of the bridge so no one can see." A campaign by the city last year to get people to take selfies instead of attaching locks was not successful. Venice has also struggled to deter tourists from attaching locks to the Rialto bridge, and in New York, amateur locksmiths launched a campaign to remove locks from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Video - Paris 'love (sex) locks' removed from bridges 2015

Forget the boys’ club, welcome to the girls’ club
4 August 2015
Falon Fatemi, CEO of Node, has faced challenges because she’s a woman, but warns of creating an “us-versus-them” mentality.. Start-up culture has a bad reputation when it comes to women — and for good reason.. In the United States, only 6.2% of board seats at unicorn companies (private firms with $1bn or more in funding) are filled by women, according to an analysis conducted by Fortune magazine. At US venture capital firms, only 6% of partners were women in 2014, (down from 10% in 1999) a Babson College study showed. And, in the thriving tech start-up scene in Silicon Valley, women account for just 11% of executive positions, according to a report conducted by law firm Fenwick and West LLP. The issue isn’t limited to the United States. In a 2012 study of more than 1,000 tech start-ups in Australia by Deloitte Private, only 4.3% of the founders were women. In Israel, another vibrant start-up locale, fewer than 10% of tech company founders are women, according to the nation’s Central Bureau of Statistics. (In the UK, though, women account for 30.3% of tech founders in London, according to a survey conducted by Wayra Accelerators.)
Women in tech have been steadily pushing back and demanding entry into companies, venture funding pools and more. But one increasingly popular way for women in start-up land to break through is to eschew the boys’ club altogether. Instead, they’re rallying around one another, launching women-focussed shared workspaces, providing training via female-focussed accelerators and connecting promising female entrepreneurs to the right (often female) backers.
Welcome to the girl’s club. They’re not anti-men, but they hope that bolstering women-led start-ups from the bottom up will change the numbers and ultimately the culture of start-ups and who gets to be in the club.
“The current model of success — not only in the start-up ecosystem right now, but in business more generally — is working more hours, drinking and socialising to build the network, and having a conversation built on trust established at the golf course,” said Ari Horie, founder of the Women’s Startup Lab in Silicon Valley. “Women tend to lose out, because it’s harder for them to connect in that way. We wanted to provide another path, another option, to success.”
One of the earliest female-focussed accelerator networks is the non-profit platform Springboard Enterprises, which has run programmes since the early 2000s in cities throughout the US. More than 500 female entrepreneurs have participated in its programmes and have gone on to raise $6.6bn in funding. The organisation has since launched in Australia.
The Women’s Startup Lab also works exclusively with ventures led by Women. One if it’s primary goals: to change the tech start-up ecosystem by getting more Women in the pipeline to begin with, Horie said, rather than funding female entrepreneurs, who are already at the top — something already being done in many cases. The programme focuses on company and entrepreneur growth and on helping participants connect to the right people through pitch meetings with business mentors and potential investors. A room of one's own
In work environments, women tend to value relationships, respect, equity and collaboration, while men are more likely to put more stock in pay, money, benefits and power, according to a study published in Gender Medicine in 2004. That makes the relationship-building and mutual respect and collaboration of this new breed of start-up girls’ clubs even more of a boon (jolly) for women. That’s likely why shared workspaces targeting women both within and outside of technology fields are increasingly cropping up in cities around the world. In Singapore, an all-women co-working space called Woolf Works is inspired by Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and opened in 2014. The She Will Shine HQ hub, located just outside of Melbourne, Australia, also opened in 2014 and offers workshops and events for its all-women community of business owners. Felena Hanson, founder of Hera Hub in the US, which has opened shared work spaces in the US, with plans to expand to the Middle East. Founded in 2009, Hera Hub (named after the mythical Greek goddess of women) offers shared workspaces with a “spa-like” environment in cities in the US from San Diego to Washington, DC. Although men are not banned from the space, founder Felena Hanson said women are the primary customers. Hanson believes that a work environment that “doesn’t require you to kick someone else down the ladder to get ahead”, women will support one another. Her workspaces quickly become networking and collaboration opportunities through their membership events and training programmes, Hansen said. Hera Hub plans to expand to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and beyond. Potential partners in Saudi Arabia have told Hanson that social segregation between men and women there means a female-only shared workspace is the only way some entrepreneurial women can work. In Tel Aviv, Israel, WMN, a shared work hub for women-led tech companies opened in March 2015. Serial entrepreneur Oren Merav, who founded WMN, said her hub doesn’t differ that much from other shared workspaces, except for one thing. “We are finding, and actively reaching out to female entrepreneurs,” she said.
“At other places, this is not their focus. But for me, I want to have more women led ventures; I want to see the numbers change. Our workspace is about 50/50 between men and women, and that’s because we are actively reaching out to women.”
Us vs them
Falon Fatemi, who was the youngest female employee at Google when she was hired at age 19, has since founded Node, a stealth start-up, that will “connect people with the people they need to be connected to”, funded by New Enterprise Associates and Mark Cuban, one of the investors on ABC’s reality show Shark Tank, the American version of Dragons’ Den. Falon Fatemi, CEO of Node, has faced challenges, because she’s a woman, but warns of creating an “us-versus-them” mentality.
But Fatemi said she has faced challenges because she is a woman. “My male counterparts have even noticed there is an initial scepticism I am initially met with in meetings, that if I were male would not exist,” she said. Though Fatemi said initiatives targeting women, awareness about gender issues, and funds targeting women entrepreneurs are great developments, she is concerned about an over-focus on the issue as well, as the danger of creating an “us-versus-them” mentality.
“I was in an investment meeting and the investor was trying to make a point and he said 'you guys,' and then he paused to explain, that he didn't mean you guys, in terms of guys and gals, or whatever,” she said, “And it became a distraction to me being able to close funding, because he was so aware of the fact, that I'm a woman." Ultimately though, cash is what counts in the start-up world. And even if investors have little interest in lengthy discussions on gender equality, the untapped value of women is increasingly being acknowledged as more female angel investors and female partners at VC firms fund female-led ventures, and as companies like Intel, AOL and Comcast create funds targeting women and/or minority led ventures.
“There’s no way a business will invest in women only because of social impact issues,” Fatemi points out. “The fact, that they are putting millions toward it, means they have run the numbers and expect an ROI — it's smart business.”

A tourist in the land of the ayatollahs (modern Iran, LM)

Amy Golestan - Tehran, Iran, 2015
30 July 2015
From ayatollahs railing against the Great Satan (aka the United States) to whip-wielding policemen on motorbikes, Iran hasn't presented the most inviting face to the outside world over the last few decades. But a few days ago the UK Foreign Office stopped telling travellers to avoid non-essential trips. So what's it like for a visiting foreigner? Amy Guttman shares her experiences. I'm fairly fearless in far-flung places, but arriving in Tehran made me nervous. As a single, white female, I stuck out. I scanned the hall for my guide Amin, and didn't relax until I spotted his placard with my name on it.  British, American and Canadian tourists must be accompanied at all times by a guide. This meant Amin, short in stature, but long in kindness, would spend the next eight days with me - many of them stretching from dawn until late at night. Amin, with his warm smile, sharp sense of humour, and gentle nature became like a brother to me. He also became my accountant. Hotels, food and souvenirs are roughly on a par with American prices, but for an outsider working this out can be tricky - Iran uses the rial, but prices are often in toman, which equal 10 rials... Let's just say there are several zeros to contend with, and long-division skills are a necessity. Hotels, with a view of the Alborz Mountains in the distanceA view of the Alborz Mountains beyond Tehran . Hotels in Iran are like a time warp, circa 1979. That's when the Islamic Revolution forced the termination of all foreign hotel contracts. Nowadays, they're referred to by their former names, like "the old Sheraton". But despite the lack of modern amenities and contemporary decor, the hotels I experienced were very clean, and functional. Breakfast is tea, dates, and watermelon, served with thick, sesame-topped flatbread and honey or quince jam, and sometimes whipped cream. Yes, whipped cream! The only thing missing was coffee - good coffee. A government backlash against Western habits, such as socialising in coffee shops, has shuttered many of Tehran's cafes. A few good coffee shops near the university and north Tehran remain, but even the strongest cup doesn't taste like a proper Americano. On the other hand, coffee drinking - and cupcakes in typical American flavours such as red velvet - are gaining in popularity. A Persian Starbucks would have bright prospects. Amy at GolestanAmy Guttman at the Golestan Palace in Tehran . The Espinas Hotel, built in 2009, comes closest to five-star luxury. An influx of foreign tourists has provided valuable lessons for local hoteliers like Amir Mousapour, who manages the Espinas. "European guests always ask for quiet rooms, away from the street, on high floors," he tells me. "We never had that request before."
According to the Tehran Times, the number of European tourists who visited the country in spring 2014 was more than double the number who visited in the same period a year earlier. All women, including foreign tourists, must wear a headscarf and manteau, a loose robe covering neck to knee, including elbows. Only the most religious are cloaked in black. Most women embrace colours and patterns. An entire cottage industry has emerged to supply this mandatory uniform. At one end of the scale you find bespoke interpretations from design studios in sophisticated styles such as a pale-blue linen duster coat, or fabric overlays in contrasting shades. Some are casual, others elegant. I wore a shirt dress over trousers, which was totally acceptable, but visited Tehran's Friday Market. There were rooms and rooms of vendors selling antiquities, handicrafts, jewellery, household goods, rugs and clothing, all crowded with local people. Most tourists head to the Grand Bazaar, but it's the Friday Market where the bargains are - and haggling is a must. Women shop at the Grand BazaarIranian women at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran, in 2014. The legendary Persian hospitality was in full swing, with no expectation of anything in return.
I was relieved she was by my side, when I received a warning from the religious police - my headscarf had slipped to the back of my neck and needed to be returned to the top of my head. One long road, Vali Asr, divides the east and west of Tehran, charting the personalities of the city as it snakes from south to north. The south is home to the more religious and traditional, working and middle classes. The north is home to Tehran's elite, successful business owners and the Alborz Mountains.
The streets are quiet in Tehran in the early morning - until the rush-hour begins. Then they become choked with traffic, and it stays that way all day and into the night. Apart from that it's easy to get around Tehran, and the rest of the country too.
Most tourists travel by car, often with a guide who is also a driver. The roads seemed perfectly safe to me. A cleric stokes the coals of the 'sacred eternal flame' at the Zoroastrian Fire Temple. I also took a short, domestic flight to the city of Yazd, famous for a Fire Temple, containing a flame kept alight since 470 AD. In the departures hall, before the flight back to Tehran, men and women were quite casual about mixing in public. A friendly man in his mid-thirties, carrying a box of cookies for his family back home, struck up a conversation with me. We joked about everyday topics and his geniality didn't stop once we boarded the plane. After we landed, he saw me waiting for Amin while family members and taxi drivers came to meet others.
"Are you OK? Is someone coming for you?" he asked. I assured him my guide was probably delayed by traffic, but he insisted on waiting with me until Amin arrived.
I also met women who made a big impression. Fatemeh Fereidooni established her own travel agency two years ago. She's a strong, single woman and the first to offer culinary tours in Iran - as good a sign as any, that Western tourism is on the up. With eight different kinds of bread in Tehran alone and each region of the country producing its own unique watermelon, there is no shortage of stops. Dishes like lamb with pomegranates and walnuts, herb stew with beans and turmeric-seasoned beef or jewelled saffron rice with slivers of almonds and dried fruit read like an Ottolenghi menu - an imaginative reinvention of Middle Eastern cuisine - except they are Persian classics. A tourist admires the facade of the Golestan Palace . The steady increase in Western guests has already given Iranians a chance to study what it is that these visitors want - from their obsession with food, to their quest for a good night's sleep. Thankfully, Mr Mousapour and his colleagues are learning to set aside a few quiet rooms.

Fat and fit: The plus-size model and the running magazine
27 July 2015
Women's Running magazine featured plus-size model Erica Schenk running on its August cover. The shot started a conversation about what it means to be athletic. The image marked a departure for the athletic US magazine genre, which usually  portrays ultra-fit models who represent an "aspirational" ideal. Body image expert Harriet Brown, author of Body of Truth and Brave Girl Eating, says the photo of 18-year-old Schenk offers a different kind of message.
"This cover will empower and remind so many women that they don't have to be slender with six-packs to get out and do something positive for their health and well-being," Brown said. "The cover sends an unambiguous message that runners come in all shapes and sizes."
The overwhelming reaction from social media affirms this idea. Twitter user shookie326 wrote: "I almost cried when I opened my mailbox and seen a thick girl like me ON THE COVER. Thank you @womensrunning".
Another user wrote: "@womensrunning Makes me wonder if I can run...? Maybe it's time to stop worrying what others think and just do it?"
According to Brown, if an image of a plus-size model running inspires other women to exercise, that can only be a good thing - even if weight loss doesn't happen.
"There's a ton of evidence that physical activity is good for you no matter what you weigh, and whether it leads to weight loss or not - and for some people, it doesn't. If we really care about people's health, we'd encourage people of all body sizes to be active. Women's Running Editor-in-Chief Jessica Sebor echoed that message in an interview with the US morning programme The Today Show.  "There's a stereotype that all runners are skinny, and that's just not the case," Sebor said.
"Runners come in all shapes and sizes. You can go any race finish line, from a 5K to a marathon, and see that. It was important for us to celebrate that."
Blog by Brenna Cammeron

Woman's leg amputated against wishes 'to save her life' (I doubt that she was mentally ill ! LM)
31 July 2015
 A mentally-ill woman has had part of her leg amputated against her wishes in order to save her life, it has emerged. Doctors said the woman, in her 60s, would die "very soon" from an infection unless her leg was removed above the knee. Last Friday, the Court of Protection ruled Surr