Eye in the sky benefits society

first_imgThe top image of the port of Sona, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, is sourced from Google Earth and is dated September 2010. The bottom image was taken in April 2011 by SumbandilaSat and shows the extensive tsunami damage in the area. (Image: Sunspace) South Africa’s maritime domain, including the area around the Prince Edward Islands.(Image: Sea Around Us project) Former science and technology minister Naledi Pandor expressed her thanks to Japan for its continuing collaboration with South Africa.(Image: Janine Erasmus) MEDIA CONTACTS • Anacletta Koloko  Science communication unit, South  African Agency for Science and  Technology Advancement   +27 12 392 9338 RELATED ARTICLES • Space science thriving in SA • SA’s space capabilities set to grow • Great astronomy, with or without SKA • Pandor: we did it • New Dawn satellite now in orbitJanine Erasmus The science of earth observation (EO) is gaining ground in South Africa. It gives us a new perspective on our planet, helps us understand our environment, and uses satellite information to anticipate climate variations such as drought or floods. This was the message at the Space Science Colloquium that took place at the University of Pretoria (UP) in early October. Organised by the Japanese embassy in South Africa, along with the national Department of Science and Technology (DST), the event brought scientists from the two countries together to discuss the latest developments in EO, micro-satellites and astronomy. The colloquium was co-hosted by the Nairobi Research Station of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and supported by South Africa’s National Research Foundation. Its theme was Promoting Space Exploration and Earth Observation: Contribution of Japan and South Africa to Humanity.The event coincided with the first day of World Space Week, which was first held in 1999 and celebrates its 13th anniversary in 2012. It takes place every year from 4 to 10 October and this year is held under the theme Space for Human Safety and Security. EO can also help in assessing water quality through the mapping of eutrophication – the excessive growth of plant matter on a water surface when nutrients are present in abundance, often because of the addition of chemicals – as well as fire scar mapping and damage assessment: Another use for EO is to detect change in land use, for instance the growth of informal settlements, and uncover other crucial information that could affect the ecology of an area or the safety of residents. For instance, if the settlement is built on agricultural land or wetlands, or is located near or under electricity pylons, the people and fauna and flora could be at risk. Other EO applications that have a benefit for society are disaster response and management, atmospheric pollution observation, and the monitoring of deforestation.Learning from the experts In the last 80 years Japan’s space industry has come along in leaps and bounds, said former science and technology minister Naledi Pandor, speaking at her last engagement in that position, and South Africa can learn much from the Asian island nation. “We have good relations with Japan, our most important commercial partner in Asia,” she said in her opening address. “They are working with us in areas such as biotechnology, information technology, the development of manufacturing technology capacity, renewable energy, and the development of capacity in space.” These are key areas into which the DST invests its resources, added Pandor. “The Japanese government pays particular attention to three key areas – funding of basic research, strong university partnerships, and strong protection of intellectual rights,” she said. “We are attempting to follow suit, to learn from them.” South Africa’s funding of basic research has grown in the last decade and the country recently established an agency to protect university intellectual property. “We’ve learned a lot from Japan but we can still learn more,” said Pandor. “We need to focus more strongly on university and private sector partnerships if we want to make the most of opportunities.” She named the relationship between industry and universities as a massive opportunity for entrepreneurship and job creation, and added that South Africa has to make better use of the transfer of technology contracts, as well as the expiry of drug patents, to create more opportunities. “We are lucky to have a competent core of scientists who are world-class in technology and innovation, so the base is there,” Pandor said. “Our scientists achieve very well and hold good rankings in the international arena, but we need to grow the ability to commercialise the intellectual property they produce.” South Africa has to work faster to accelerate this commercialisation, she said – if not, it will always be the client of others.Imaging for the good of mankind Climate change specialist Dr Jane Olwoch, MD of the South African National Space Agency’s (Sansa) earth observation division, said that satellite imagery helps people to understand the current situation in terms of land use and degradation. Sansa has a number of operational themes in its EO programme, including environmental and resource management, disaster management, industrial activities, and urban planning and development. Based at Hartebeeshoek, west of Pretoria and Johannesburg, the core business of Sansa’s EO division is data reception and processing, image archiving, dissemination of information, and development of applications. Satellite information is received at Hartebeeshoek, explained Olwoch, and once it is processed by a bank of 14 dual and quad core processors, it is archived in an 80-terabyte online catalogue, with older data held in a 760-terabyte tape library. The archive goes back to 1972 and is a rich resource, she said, holding, among other data, about 1 900 images captured by the now-defunct SumbandilaSat, South Africa’s second commercial satellite. These are available at no charge. Sansa EO is also responsible for the redistribution of imagery from other sources such as the Ikonos EO satellite and TerraSAR-X – these, however, are not free. “We want more people to access our data, and understand what we can derive from it,” Olwoch said. The catalogue is available online at http://catalogue-sansa.org.za Keeping an eye out from the sky Dr Waldo Kleynhans, a senior researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s remote sensing research unit (RSRU), is one of a team of experts that is developing EO applications for South Africa. Two of these projects involve the detection of anthropogenic – man-made, caused by humans – land cover change, and maritime domain awareness, involving the monitoring of South Africa’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and territorial waters. In the first instance, said Kleynhans, the objective of the RSRU project was to develop a change alarm that is able to detect the formation of new settlements and can accurately distinguish between the spread of settlements and natural cycles. “Human settlement expansion is the most pervasive form of land cover change in South Africa,” said Kleynhans. However, to ensure accurate readings, a bi-temporal approach is not always appropriate. This refers to readings that are taken only twice. For example, the land may become drier in winter but a computer, given only a summer and winter reading, will interpret the natural event as a change. “The temporal frequency should be high enough to distinguish change events from natural cycles such as the seasons.” The change alarm program uses Nasa’s moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer on board the Terra and Aqua satellite platforms, which covers the earth every two days or so and delivers images with a resolution of 500 metres – this is the dimension of each pixel in the image. The data are analysed using two change detection methods, both developed by the local team. They are the extended Kalman filter change detection method, and the autocorrelation change detection method. Moving on to the maritime application, Kleynhans named piracy, illegal fishing and oil spills as a few of the potential problems in South Africa’s maritime domain. Monitoring is currently achieved predominantly through transponder-based systems such as satellite automatic identification or long-range identification and tracking, as well as terrestrial-based radar systems such as those situated in Simon’s Town, the seat of the South African navy. “Terrestrial based radar systems are effective but only cover a fraction of South Africa’s total EEZ, which extends over 1.5-million square kilometres,” said Kleynhans. “South Africa has more sea than land to monitor, because the land area is just over 1.2-million square kilometres.” Satellite data and newer technologies such as synthetic aperture radar, he said, play an important role in monitoring this extensive piece of ocean, which includes the area along the coast and also that around the Prince Edward Islands – Marion Island and Prince Edward Island – situated some 1 800km southeast of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is used mostly from the air, from an aircraft or satellite, and uses the flight path of the platform to electronically simulate a large antenna or aperture. The captured information is then used to generate high-resolution remote sensing imagery. SAR is viewed as a potential addition to current maritime monitoring efforts, said Kleynhans, and using the technology, thousands of square kilometres can be surveyed in a single overpass. An international collaboration between bodies such as Pretoria University and the US office of naval research has yielded a system known as the International Collaborative Development for Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness. “It’s an open source platform,” said Kleynhans, “which everyone can use. We are one of five countries contributing to the database.” The program and web portal is under development by researchers in Chile, Ghana, the Seychelles, South Africa and Mauritius. It provides information that can be freely accessed and analysed by the global maritime community on issues such as wave detection and oil spills. UP’s contribution focuses mostly on vessel detection. Even if a ship switches off its transponder, said Kleynhans, the program will still be able to detect it and in fact, disabling a transponder is often a cue to illegal activity, meaning that the relevant naval or coastal authorities can be alerted in time. “With historic vessel location information, intent detection algorithms are currently being researched, with particular emphasis on illegal fishing and piracy,” he said.last_img read more

First MeerKAT telescope foundation laid

first_img15 August 2013The concrete for the first MeerKAT antenna foundation was poured at South Africa’s Square Kilometre Array (SKA) site in the Northern Cape on Wednesday.The SKA project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, which is to be co-hosted by South Africa and Australia.The 64-dish MeerKAT radio telescope is due to come online in 2016 both as a precursor to the SKA and as one of the most powerful telescopes in the world in its own right.The foundation laid on Wednesday is the first of 64 similar foundations – each comprising 78 cubic metres of concrete and 9 tons of steel – that will be built for the MeerKAT over the next nine months.“Designing a foundation for a high-tech telescope is complex and challenging since it has to meet a set of stringent requirements,” Tracy Cheetham, general manager for infrastructure and site operations at SKA South Africa, said in a statement.“The foundations must ensure that each of the 19-metre high antennas with its 13.5 x 16 metre main reflector will be exceptionally stable and able to point accurately at distant celestial objects at wind speeds gusting to 69 kilometres an hour as well as survive wind speeds of up to 144 kilometres an hour.”Another challenge for the design team, working with contractors Brink & Heath Civils, was to ensure that each antenna was carefully earthed and would not be damaged in the event of a lightning strike.To meet these stability requirements, each foundation consists of eight steel-reinforced concrete piles at depths of between 5 to 10 metres, depending on the local soil conditions. A square slab of concrete (5.2 x 5.2 metres, and 1.25 metres thick) rests on top of the piles to add further stability. The 32 “holding down” bolts are pre-assembled in a circle to form a steel ring cage, or so-called “bird’s nest”, into which the concrete is cast.“This first foundation will now be verified through a series of load tests to ensure that all specifications have been met,” Cheetham said.“Getting this absolutely right is critically important for the science to be done with this instrument, and will also inform the construction of foundations for other SKA dishes to be built in the Karoo.”The MeerKAT is due to be commissioned in 2014/15, and to come online for science operations in 2016. It will be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the southern hemisphere until the Square Kilometre Array itself is completed around 2024. Leading radio astronomy teams from around the globe having already signed up to use the instrument.Via the MeerKAT, South Africa is playing a key role in design and technology developments for the SKA, with close to 100 young scientists and engineers working on the MeerKAT project.“Based at the engineering office in Cape Town, and at universities and technology companies across South Africa and Africa, these researchers interact closely with SKA teams around the world,” SKA South Africa says on its website.“In collaboration with South African industry and universities, and collaborating with global institutions, the South African team has developed technologies and systems for the MeerKAT telescope, including innovative composite telescope dishes and cutting-edge signal processing hardware and algorithms.”According to Professor Justin Jonas, associate director for science and engineering at SKA South Africa, the MeerKAT “will make up one quarter of SKA Phase 1 mid-frequency array, and the science planned for SKA Phase 1 is very similar to the MeerKAT science case – just much more ambitious.“Our researchers and students who participate in the MeerKAT surveys have a huge advantage. They are well placed to enter SKA Phase 1. They have the opportunity to become science leaders in future SKA projects.”Up to 2016, South Africa will be constructing the 64 MeerKAT dishes in the Karoo, with construction on the 190 dishes of SKA Phase 1 probably starting around the time the MeerKAT is complete.“The design of the SKA dishes is not yet final, but they should look similar to the Gregorian-offset dish design chosen for MeerKAT,” Prof Jonas expects.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Ohio Ag Weather and Forecast — June 6, 2018

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Dry weather dominates the rest of the week, starting today. Sunny, dry, and pleasant conditions with low relative humidity and gradually warming temps will be here through Friday. We may have to look at a bit of on and off cloud activity tomorrow, but nothing that brings any kind of moisture, and sun will still be a big part of the day.We still have moisture coming for the weekend, but we are delaying the start, and shortening the duration this morning. We should see sunshine hold through Saturday, albeit with increasing clouds. Rain starts after midnight Saturday night, and we see scattered showers through Sunday. We won’t completely rule out thunderstorms for Sunday, but they look to be less of a threat. Moisture totals can be from .25”-1” combined, but that upper end of the range is not as likely either…with most of us getting three quarters of an inch or less. Coverage of rains will be about 80% of the state. The map above shows rain potential for Sunday.Dry weather is in Monday, but we have to allow for scattered showers to be back in on Tuesday. Coverage for Tuesday is only about 40% of the state, and it is biased more toward the southern half to two thirds of Ohio, but this is still a wetter change in our forecast this morning. Rain totals can be from a few hundredths to a third of an inch.The rest of the week is relatively dry, although we have to keep an eye out for scattered showers trying to pop up on an isolated basis for next Thursday into Friday. Our next good front likely does not develop until into next weekend., for the 16th and 17th.We finish out the extended 11-16 day forecast window with a cold front arriving around the 21st, bringing rains of half an inch or less to 80% of the state.last_img read more

Living Building Challenge 2.0 Released

first_imgFrom Environmental Building NewsThe International Living Buildings Institute and Cascadia Green Building Council have overhauled the Living Building Challenge (LBC), releasing version 2.0 at the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild conference in Phoenix. LBC is known for its unbending principles and all-prerequisite structure (see EBN June 2009).The new version consolidates some of the old prerequisites (now called “imperatives”) and adds six new ones: urban agriculture, car-free living, biophilia, human scale and humane places, democracy and social justice, and rights to nature. The last three imperatives form a new section that deals with equity issues; the intent behind the section is to foster communities “that allow equitable access to all people regardless of physical abilities, age, or socioeconomic status,” according to the LBC document. In general, the changes to LBC reflect a desire to extend the system beyond single buildings to address environmental and social issues at a larger scale. Go to http://www.ilbi.org for more information.last_img read more

Gerry Abadiano determined to deliver NU Bullpups another NBTC crown

first_imgFor the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles The Bullpups have been nothing short of spectacular in the 2019 NBTC National Finals but against San Beda, the reigning champions nearly came up short.Abadiano, with the hopes of winning another NBTC title after a UAAP championship, took his matters in his own hands.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsAfter NU squandered a 26-point lead and get into an 89-89 tie with the Red Cubs, Abadiano took it upon himself to save the Bullpups with a glorious stepback jumper over Zachary Estacio for the 91-89 lead with 2.0 seconds left in the game.The Bullpups eventually held on for the 91-90 lead and Abadiano said that it’s the desire of winning the double that kept him going. “I really hope that we can win the championship so we can have two titles in a row,” said Abadiano in Filipino Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.“I always practice that shot and I always keep thinking that it’s the last shot in a championship game. When I shot it, I just left it to chance that if it doesn’t go in we’ll go to overtime. It went in so I was ecstatic.”Abadiano and the rest of the Bulldogs, who had won heir first three games with an average margin of 59.7 points, were pushed to unfamiliar territory when the Red Cubs erased their 26-point lead, 61-35, and even took the 85-84 lead after Estacio’s layup with 2:10 remaining.Estacio could’ve erased the impact of Abdadiano’s jumper had he made his free throws with zero seconds left in the clock after absorbing contact from Terrence Fortea.As fate had it, Estacio missed the first free throw and the Bullpups set up another finals date with La Salle Green Hills.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. La Salle wins 4th UAAP Streetdance title MANILA, Philippines—Gerry Abadiano wasn’t about to let Nazareth School of National University fall out of its repeat hopes.ADVERTISEMENT PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH PLAY LIST 05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants View comments Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon eventcenter_img Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Google Philippines names new country director MOST READ LATEST STORIES Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Abadiano said last year’s duel with the Greenies are still fresh in his memory but they’d rather focus on what they can execute than what La Salle will do.“We faced them last year so we kind of know the tendencies of the players and of the team,” said Abadiano who finished with 23 points and four steals against the Red Cubs. “Whatever the outcome is the important thing is we gave it our all.”last_img read more

Report Real Madrid want Pochettino

first_imgFollowing Zinedine Zidane’s shock decision to quit on Thursday, Real Madrid have now set their sights on Mauricio Pochettino to become their new managerDespite the fact that the Argentine coach had only signed a new five-year deal to continue with Tottenham last week, Real president Florentino Perez has identified Pochettino as one of the top candidates to replace Zidane.But Los Blancos have not made any approach for the Spurs boss, who is understood to have no release clause inserted into his new contract at the club.On Thursday, Zidane stunned the football world by announcing that he has resigned from his role as head coach of Real after winning nine trophies in his two-and-a-half years in charge with the Frenchman later stating that he left the club as he felt that they were in need of a “new voice”.Sergio Ramos, Real MadridZidane reveals Sergio Ramos injury concern for Real Madrid Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Zinedine Zidane has put Sergio Ramos’ availability for Real Madrid’s trip to Sevilla next weekend in doubt after withdrawing him against Levante.Spanish football expert Guillem Balague believes that Real view Pochettino as the stand-out candidate for the role at the Santiago Bernabeu and he dismissed Arsene Wenger’s chances.“Wenger has said no before, but now he is out of a job,” Balague told Sky Sports.“The interest in Pochettino from Real Madrid is obvious for all to see. He is the type of manager they would like to have at Real Madrid at some point.“He has a new contract at Spurs, he is linked to everything that is happening for Spurs around the decisions of the players, it does not seem obvious for him to leave right now.”last_img read more

ExGermany star blames Guardiola for nations downfall

first_imgHans-Peter Briegel reckons Germany’s struggles began after Pep Guardiola took charge of Bayern Munich in 2013The Catalan coach enjoyed a brilliant three-year spell in Munich, which saw his possession-based style of football lead Bayern to three straight Bundesliga titles.Germany stars Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Philip Lahm (now retired), Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos were all at Bayern when Guardiola arrived.Now Briegel believes that Guardiola’s obsession with possession-based football effectively brainwashed the German squad.“We no longer follow a simple principle – that the result in football is more important than to control the game,” Briegel told La Repubblica.RB Leipzig, Bayern Munich, Robert LewadowskiMatch Preview: RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 RB Leipzig will have the chance to prove their title-winning capabilities when they host Bayern Munich today at 18:30 (CET).“Since Guardiola came to Bayern, something has changed,”“We have had the impression that we need 75 per cent of the possession to win, but only having control of the ball is not enough to get a good result.”“The recent history and also the World Champion France have shown that you can also win if you give the opponent the ball and even have below 50 per cent of the possession.”Germany were relegated from Group A1 in the UEFA Nations League over the weekend.This comes following their group stage exit at the 2018 World Cup in the summer at Russia.last_img read more

United Nations Initiative Aims to Reduce the 125 Million Road Crash Deaths

first_img Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppBahamas, May 9, 2017 – Nassau – In the time it took you to read the headline of this story, a child somewhere in the world was hit and killed by a car on her way to school. “The statistics are alarming,” says David McLaughlin, FIA Project Development Director for the Caribbean. “Speed kills.    Somewhere in the world a child dies every 30 seconds as a result of a road crash.    Road accidents are the 10th leading cause of death worldwide and the 13th leading cause of death in The Bahamas.    Every year, 1.25 million people die as a result of accidents.”To put the brakes on the tragic numbers that take more than a million innocent lives a year and leave millions more injured, many severely and for life, the United Nations launched the Save Lives Slow Down movement.  This is the fourth year that the FIA, the world governing body of motor sport and sanctioned by the International Olympics Committee (IOC), has driven the UN global campaign, but the first time The Bahamas has taken part. “Given that the UN Global Road Safety Week is May 8-14 and there is a lot of other activity at this time, we are focusing efforts on spreading the message about the dangers of speeding and distracted driving.    We will also host an event at the Mall at Marathon this Saturday, May 13,” said McLaughlin, a former race driver himself and the chairman of Bahamas Motor Speedway.    Students who came through the popular EduKarting program will be on hand at the Mall with a go-kart. “The idea is for kids to write in a few words why they believe it is important to slow down. We will provide the paper and once they have penned their words, they will have the opportunity to be pictured in the kart holding their small sign, take a selfie and share it on social media. The words could be something like, ‘I slow down because all lives matter.’ We really want to encourage people to take the on-line road safety pledge which only take a few seconds and to get involved.”Participants will also be able to sign up for this summer’s EduKarting program and can find more information on the program on its Facebook page.  McLaughlin will also be a guest on Guardian Talk Radio Friday at 9 am and will address the Rotary Club of East Nassau at its luncheon meeting May 12. Among the guests expected to be on hand between 11 am and noon at the Mall is Wellington Miller, President of the Bahamas Olympic Committee. Sponsors of the Save Lives, Slow Down road safety program include JS Johnson, Oasis Furniture, Phillips Sailmakers & Awning Manufacturers, Aquapure, Rotary Club of East Nassau, Valvoline, Battery & Tyre, Bahamas Waste and Custom Computers.   last_img read more

New CES Location Plans Put On Hold

first_imgBorough Land Manager Marcus Mueller: “For the station site we were originally looking at, there are two property owners involved in that site, and one of the property owners for the site was no longer available.” Residents can comment on the new location to the borough lands department at lmweb@kpb.us or by calling 714-2205. The deadline to comment is October 1. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly was set to vote on an ordinance last week approving the site location for the new Central Emergency Services building, but the ordinance was removed from the agenda at the start of the meeting. Station 1 is central to the entire operation of CES . Its initial construction dates back to 1957 with major additions in 1971 and 1982. The proposed area was located across from Petco, in Soldotna.  A site selection committee comprised of both borough and City of Soldotna officials evaluated potential sites according to design and operational criteria to fit the need of a new Station 1 for Central Emergency Services. According to Mueller the borough is looking at a possible new site location: “We are now looking just south on the same street, which is Homestead Lane, near Walgreens. We are looking at an adjustment site, and this one only has one property owner we are in negotiations with.”  The existing station’s space is maxed out and does not meet code.The current property is too small for further upgrades to meet operational needs going forward, according to a memo to the assembly.last_img read more

Punishment in only 60 of 4541 rape cases

first_imgA total of 4,541 rape cases were filed with the One-Stop Crisis Centers (OCC) in eight districts of the country over the last 16 years.Most of the victims fail to get justice due to shoddy investigations by the police and other departments which result in lack of adequate evidence.In 2001, the government started the OCC under multi-sectoral programme in country’s eight districts-Dhaka, Rajshahi, Chittagong, Sylhet, Barisal, Khulna, Rangpur and Faridpur- to provide legal assistance to victims of repression against women and children.According to the statistics, a total of 1,229 cases among the 4,541 were settled till date. A total of 60 accused were indicted in those cases. And 73 per cent of the cases are yet to be solved.An official of the multi-sectoral programme, on condition of anonymity, told Prothom Alo that none of the government organs were properly functioning competently enough to provide justice for the rape victims.The same reaction came from the forensic medicine experts and the others in the police headquarters.According to statistics of police headquarters, a total of 3,648 women were raped last year. In 2012 this figure stood at 3,700. In 2013 it was 3,891, in 2014 it was 3,647, and in 2015 it was 3,622. Officials said there were few cases filed regarding the incidents, and even less settlements.Harassment while seeking justiceMost of the victims remain mum after the incident due to pressure from their families and the society. Some also face harassment while seeking justice.A woman in Dhaka filed a rape case in 2012. Speaking with Prothom Alo on Tuesday, she said, “Police at first confused me about whether the incident took place at Lalbagh or Hazaribagh. I filed a case with the Hazaribag police station after eight hours of the incident. The police then told me that they will take my photograph and I was hesitant.”“The police started taunting me, saying I wan’t hesitant to file a rape case, but hesitated to take a picture”, said the victim.She later continued the case with family support. The prosecutor’s lawyer falsely accused her of being a sex worker.Most of the time close relatives of the victim do not support them.A 14-year old was raped by motorbike riders last Thursday. Locals caught an accused from the spot and handed him over to police. The victim is in police custody. Her father did not even come to meet her. He said it was shameful for the family and that his daughter’s future was now precarious.Reason for no justiceThere are certain steps to be followed in rape cases. If a rape victims needs counseling, she can call 09, the number of the national helpline centre for the prevention of women and child repression. Then the victim needs to visit her local police station. The investigative officer will be ‘sympathetic’ to the victim and the police station will have a woman-friendly environment to assist the victim woman or child. Police will assist the victim woman (or child) with the medical examination. The police will submit the charge sheet within the timeframe. The Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal have to conclude the judgment within 180 days. Ground reality is different.Officials of the forensic medicine department, officals related to the women and children affairs ministry, the police and the state prosecutor accused each other for not providing sufficient support to ensure justice for the rape victims.Multi-sectoral programme project director Abul Hossain said, “Lack of sufficient proof deprives the vitims of justice. Evidence is most important in rape cases. The rape victim should call 109 to know what to do.”An official from the women and children affairs ministry said it would have been possible to help Rupa who was raped and killed on a bus in Tangail, if she had called 109 while travelling alone in the bus.This correspondent called 109 on Tuesday and had to wait eight and a half minutes to talk before an an official answered the call. The voice of the person on the other end of the phone was unclear.Accused of insensitivityVictims also accused police of insensitivity. Asked what police do when a victim goes to file a rape case, a police official from the headquarters, on condition of anonymity, said all police stations do not have round-the-clock women police on duty.The police official said a rape victim has to face the duty officer first when filing a case. It is invariably a male officer on duty. The police mostly file the case under Section 290.Cases under Section 290 are filed when a person is arrested for illicit physical relations.State prosecutor for the women and children repression prevention tribunal, Mahmuda Akhtar said, “Cases pile up as police are not able to produce witnesses in time. Proper medical reports are also not available at times.” Questions regarding medical examinationsBangladesh medico legal society president AM Selim Reza said most of the time medical examinations of the victims are delayed which damages the evidence. No one is concerned about this.Meanwhile, many other countries also have provision to caarry out medical examination of the accused rapist.A woman struggles and tries to save herself while being raped and so the rapist often has marks on his body. Both the rape victim and accused will carry matching DNA samples.There is also a fear about the ‘two-finger test’.Jagannath University teacher Farzana Shubhra, who also works with Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), criticised the ‘two-fingers test’. In this test, a doctor inserts two fingers inside a woman’s vagina to test whether the hymen is intact or not. If not, then the medical test report says, ‘sexually active’, which the lawyer of the accused uses to accuse the victim of being  immoral.India changed this law in 2003, but it is still effective in Bangladesh.Executive director of Bangladesh Mohila Ainjibi Samity, Salma Ali said firstly the forensic medicine department has to be more efficient as most of these departments in the country are in a poor condition.Government monitoring of the rape cases is also needed for this, she added.*This piece, originally published in the printed edition of Prothom Alo, was rewritten in English by Saimul Hudalast_img read more