Monthly Archives: OCTOBER 2016
Woman's response to 'cyber bully' who threatened to release naked video
The first email came at nine o'clock on a Friday morning. And when 26-year-old Taruna Aswani received a message from a man she didn't know, who called himself "Kevin John," she was shocked to read his message.
John claimed to have nude pictures and videos of Aswani, accessed through her Cloud. Aswani had intended the images to be seen only by her boyfriend of five years.
"All I am saying," read the threat from John, "is if you want me to keep quiet on this and let the world (social media, work place, family and friends) know, then you have to excite me." He went on demand Aswani send him further intimate videos.
Aswani, an Indian citizen who is currently working as a physical therapist in the US state of Maryland, immediately filed an online complaint with the FBI's cybercrime department.
But before they responded, she received a second unwelcome email from John. The message contained further threats, plus a detailed list of all the contacts that would receive the naked images were she not to comply with John's demand. It landed in her inbox at 9pm that evening. Aswani says she then knew what needed to be done.
"I couldn't just sit quiet and wait for someone to take action," Aswani told BBC Trending, "I had to do something myself! And soon. This guy was serious, and I had a deadline. With support from my boyfriend, I decided to go public with it."
She turned to social media and in a public Facebook post that has been shared more than 4,000 times, with more than 18,000 reactions, Aswani made clear that she would not give in to John's request. She also screen shot and uploaded his messages to her, and shared his email address.
"As embarrassing as the videos may be (they were sent to my boyfriend at the time) I choose to stand up to this man," Aswani wrote in the post, "Instead of cowering down to his requests. I do this so that other women may take a lesson to stand up to bullies and low life's like this."
"In the beginning I was just standing up for myself and against cybercrime and extortion," Aswani says.
"But receiving so many messages from girls who've been in similar situations and just kept quiet about it, who are now drawing inspiration from my story, has made me realise I'm not just standing up for myself but for all the women who have been victimised by sick men like this and have been too scared to stand up for the fear of being judged by society."
Although the majority of the comments on Aswani's post were positive, she said she did receive some negative ones.
Some, she says, have called her "a slut and some have gone to say I'm doing this for fame and publicity... For those who think I'm a slut for keeping pictures like that, I just want to say that it's completely normal.
"Especially if you're in a long-distance relationship, you do tend to share such material with your partner. It's neither unnatural nor uncommon. These people are the reason why most women keep quiet when shamed."
Aswani says that she received the full support of her boyfriend, her friends and her Mumbai-based family who, she says, didn't question why she took the intimate images in the first place.
"My parents were obviously panicking at first and felt helpless that they weren't physically with me to support and protect me, but they've been nothing but supportive throughout," she says. "They realise how normal it is to take and share such pictures with your boyfriend."
Aswani adds that her parents' reaction is indicative of a more open India.
"My parents have always known me for being a fighter," she says. "I fight for my rights, even at home... And I believe, by sharing my story I did the exact same thing with the people of India.
"I hope people in India stop saying 'what will people think?' before doing anything. It does not matter what people think. If you think you're right, stand up and speak up."
But would she have taken the same course of action if she still lived in India?
"Yes, definitely. Probably even before going to the police," she tells us, "Because, honestly, they would have shamed me too for my actions. I'm glad the people of India have supported me and all the buzz has put pressure on the Mumbai Police Department to take action.
Both the Mumbai Police Department and the FBI cyber crime unit have been opened investigations into the identity of "Kevin John".
Aswani says that since her Facebook post went viral, John has not been in touch.
(*courtesy: BBC Trending)
Russia voted out of UN Human Rights Council
The General Assembly voted Russia off the UN Human Rights Council on Friday, a stunning rebuke to the country which is increasingly being accused of war crimes over its actions in Syria.
The 193-member General Assembly elected 14 members to 47-nation council, the UN's main body charged with promoting and protecting human rights.
Russia, which received 112 votes, lost its regional seat to Hungary, with 144 votes, and Croatia with 114 votes.
The outcome was an upset for Russia, which has been a member for all but one year since the council was set up in 2006.
Asked about the defeat, Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin quipped: "We need a break.”
"Croatia and Hungary fortunately, because of their size, they are not as exposed to the winds of international diplomacy. Russia is quite exposed,” he said.
"We have been there a number of years. I am sure next time we are going to get it.”
More than 80 human rights and aid organizations had urged UN member-states to vote Russia off the council for its military support of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s bloody civil war.
Russia has been accused by Western powers and rights groups of indiscriminate bombings in the Syrian government operation to seize rebel-held eastern Aleppo.
Brazil, China, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, Hungary, Iraq, Japan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, United Kingdom and the United States were elected for three-year terms beginning January 1, 2017. India is a member of the 47-member human rights body and its term will expire in 2017.
'God warned me to stop cursing,' says Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
The foul-mouthed Philippine president, who once called the pope a "son of a bitch” and told Barack Obama to "go to hell,” says he has promised to God he won’t spew expletives again.
Mr Duterte’s zest for outrageous declarations has played well at home but left many outsiders, notably Manila’s traditional allies in Washington, confused about his real thoughts and aims. His tough talk also has domestic consequences: his bloody war on drugs has claimed thousands of lives, including a town mayor and nine of his associates on Friday.
Duterte made the stunning pledge on arrival in his southern hometown of Davao city late Thursday from a trip to Japan.
While flying home, he said he was looking at the sky while everyone was sound asleep, some snoring, and he heard a voice that said "‘if you don’t stop epithets, I will bring this plane down now.”
"And I said, ‘Who is this?’ So, of course, ‘it’s God,'” he said.
"So, I promise God to … not express slang, cuss words and everything. So you guys hear me right always because (a) promise to God is a promise to the Filipino people.”
Duterte’s vow was met with applause, but he cautioned: "Don’t clap too much or else this may get derailed.”
Mr Duterte, who took office at the end of June, has called both Pope Francis and Mr Obama "son of a bitch” in separate outbursts. He also had to apologise for likening himself to Adolf Hitler and saying he would be prepared to kill millions of drug addicts.
Mr Duterte’s homecomings to Davao have taken on something of the status of confessionals, in which he attempts to clarify or moderate statements he made during his travels. On his return from China last week, he said he had not really meant it when he dramatically announced the Philippines’ "separation” from the US, its security treaty ally.
He shocked Roman Catholics in 2015 when he fired an expletive while expressing his disgust over a traffic jam that trapped him while Pope Francis was visiting Manila.
"I wanted to call, 'Pope, you son of a bitch, go home. Don't visit here any more'," he told supporters.
He later apologised after Filipino bishops expressed shock and outrage.
It is not certain if the 71-year-old president, who has been compared to US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump because of his brash language, can keep his promise.
Duterte made a similar pledge in June when it became evident he had won the May 9 presidential elections on a pledge to end crimes, especially illegal drugs and corruption.
It did not take long for Duterte to break the vow.
Asked if the days of his cursing the U.S. and the E.U are over, Duterte didn’t answer clearly.
"I do not want anybody reading my mind because I couldn’t make a smart move anymore. But it’s all calibrated, it’s all about timing,” Duterte said.
Nawaz Sharif’s response to Modi: 'Can't end poverty with tanks'
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today hit back at his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, saying poverty cannot be eradicated by "driving tanks on farmlands" and once again needled India by calling Hizbul commander Burhan Wani a "son of the Kashmiri soil".
Sharif attempted to respond to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s taunt asking Pakistan to battle India on who can eradicate poverty and illiteracy first. "They want us to compete with them to end poverty. They should realize that poverty will not end if tanks are being driven through farmlands," Sharif said.
Sharif, while addressing a joint session of the Parliament convened to discuss the security situation in the wake of increasing Indo-Pak tensions, accused India of running away from dialogue and instead creating a war-like environment by blaming Pakistan for the Uri terror attack in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed last month.
"We have done everything to make India come to the dialogue table, but India did not let it happen. Our efforts were thwarted over and over again," Sharif claimed.
"Without any investigation (into Uri incident), within a few hours, India blamed Pakistan for the attack," he said.
Sharif accused India of having some "motives" in blaming Pakistan for the Uri attack when it was "not even established" that who was involved in it.
He also maintained to the joint session his government's line that the Indian military had not crossed the LoC and had not conducted any strikes. "India's ceasefire violation resulted in the death of two of our soldiers. We gave a fitting response to this, and conveyed that the Pakistan Army is fully capable and prepared to respond to any aggression," he said.
He again mentioned Wani in his speech.
"The death of Burhan Wani, son of the Kashmiri soil, had reminded India to give Kashmiris their right to self-determination," Sharif said.
Raking up Kashmir at the UN General Assembly, Sharif had called Wani a "young leader", evoking a strong reaction from India.
Reiterating that Pakistan wanted peace, he said, "We want dialogue on all issues including Kashmir. We will walk this well-thought path, but the desire for peace should be considered a respectable nation's desire."
Opposition leader Syed Khurshid Shah, of the PPP, lashed out at the Sharif government's diplomatic failures. "India openly says they are going to isolate Pakistan. We have to ask ourselves why our foreign policy is so weak, why Pakistan feels isolated in the international arena. The SAARC Summit is an example," he said.
"Five countries refused to attend the summit. We should have anticipated and countered this. Also, two of the countries that pulled out were Muslim countries. Afghanistan and Bangladesh continue to grow further apart from us," Shah added.
India later rebutted Nawaz Sharif's comments eulogizing Kashmiri terrorist Burhan Wani and his ridicule of Modi's statement, issuing a challenge to Pakistan to win the war against poverty.
Sharif's comments, government sources said, shows Pakistan's continued attachment to terrorism. "Those who provide safe havens and training to terrorists are no less guilty," tweeted the foreign ministry, quoting junior foreign minister MJ Akbar, who is currently attending a conference in Belgium's capital Brussels.