Oslo, Oct 05 (AP/UNB) — An Iraqi woman who became a global advocate for victims after being raped and tortured by Islamic State militants and a Congolese surgeon who has treated countless rape victims in his war-torn nation won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for fighting to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
Dr. Denis Mukwege was in surgery — his second operation of the day — at the hospital that he founded in 1999 in Congo's eastern Bukavu region when the announcement came Friday that he and Nadia Murad had won the prestigious prize. He learned of it because he heard colleagues and patients crying.
"I can see in the faces of many women how they are happy to be recognized. This is really so touching," the 63-year-old gynecological surgeon told the Nobel Prize organization.
"Dr. Mukwege brings smiles and helps repair women from the barbaric acts of men in Congo," said Solange Furaha Lwashiga, a Congolese women's activist.
Murad was one of an estimated 3,000 Yazidi girls and women kidnapped in 2014 by IS militants in Iraq and sold into sex slavery. At 19, she was raped, beaten and tortured before managing to escape after three months. After getting treatment in Germany, she chose to speak to the world about the horrors faced by Yazidi women, regardless of the stigma in her culture surrounding rape.
At 23, she was named the U.N.'s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.
This year's peace prize announcement comes amid a heightened attention to the sexual abuse of women — in war, in the workplace and in society — that has been highlighted by the "#MeToo" movement.
"We want to send a message that women who constitute half the population in those communities actually are used as weapons and that they need protection, and that the perpetrators have to be prosecuted and held responsible," said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
"#MeToo and war crimes is not quite the same thing, but they do, however, have in common that it is important to see the suffering of women," she said.
Many of the women treated by Mukwege were victims of gang rape in the central African nation that has been wracked by conflict for decades. Armed men tried to kill him in 2012, forcing him to temporarily leave the country.
"This particular type of war crime has been more invisible, because the victims have such a stigma and no one is willing to speak up on their behalf," Reiss-Andersen told The Associated Press.
Both honorees are the first from their countries to receive a Nobel Prize and will split the award, which is worth 9 million Swedish kronor ($1.01 million).
After the announcement, mobile phone footage showed a smiling Mukwege jostled by dancing, ululating medical colleagues in scrubs in the hospital's courtyard.
Eastern Congo has seen more than two decades of conflict among armed groups that either sought to unseat presidents or simply grab control of some the central African nation's vast mineral wealth.
"The importance of Dr. Mukwege's enduring, dedicated and selfless efforts in this field cannot be overstated. He has repeatedly condemned impunity for mass rape and criticized the Congolese government and other countries for not doing enough to stop the use of sexual violence against women as a strategy and weapon of war," the Nobel committee said.
Murad's book, "The Last Girl," tells of her captivity, the loss of her family and her eventual escape.
The Yazidis are an ancient religious minority, falsely branded as devil-worshippers by Sunni Muslim extremists. IS, adopting a radical interpretation of ancient Islamic texts, declared that Yazidi women and even young girls could be taken as sex slaves.
Iraqi President Bahram Saleh praised the award for Murad, saying on Twitter that it was an "honor for all Iraqis who fought terrorism and bigotry."
Congo's government congratulated Mukwege while acknowledging that their relations with him have been strained. Government spokesman Lambert Mende told The Associated Press that Mukwege did "remarkable" work, though he claimed the laureate tended to politicize it.
"(Still) we salute that a colleague is recognized," he said.
"I am proud to be Congolese," said the country's top opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi, in a Twitter post. "Good done for others always ends up being rewarded."
In the United States, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tweeted a link to the Nobel announcement, commenting that "the timing of this topic is extraordinary as we fight for the end of #ViolenceAgainstWomen."
Last year's Peace Prize winner was the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
In other Nobel prizes this year, the medicine prize went Monday to James Allison of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University, whose discoveries helped cancer doctors fight many advanced-stage tumors and save an "untold" numbers of lives.
Scientists from the United States, Canada and France shared the physics prize Tuesday for revolutionizing the use of lasers in research.
On Wednesday, three researchers who "harnessed the power of evolution" to produce enzymes and antibodies that have led to a new best-selling drug won the Nobel Prize in chemistry.
The winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, honoring Alfred Nobel, the founder of the five Nobel Prizes, will be revealed on Monday.
No Nobel literature prize will be awarded this year due to a sex abuse scandal at the Swedish Academy, which chooses the winner. The academy plans to announce both the 2018 and the 2019 winner next year — although the head of the Nobel Foundation has said the body must fix its tarnished reputation first.
The man at the center of the Swedish Academy scandal, Jean-Claude Arnault, a major cultural figure in Sweden, was sentenced Monday to two years in prison for rape.
Dhaka, Oct 4 (UNB) - A five-day film festival titled 'Dhaka Korean Film Festival 2018' will begin here on October 12.
The opening ceremony of the film festival, to be hosted by South Korean Embassy in Dhaka, will be held at 4pm at Bangladesh National Museum in the city.
South Korean Ambassador-designate in Dhaka Hu Kang-il will attend the opening ceremony which will be followed by the premier of opening film ‘The Admiral’.
This year’s opening film ‘The Admiral’ is the most watched and highest grossing domestic film of all time in Korea.
Including the opening film, four of eight movies presented for this year’s film festival are ranked among 10 highest-grossing films in Korea.
The eight films are - The Admiral (opening film), A Taxi Driver, Train to Busan, Veteran, I Can Speak, Finding Mr. Destiny, Midnight Runners, The King of Jokgu and The Tower.
Genres ranging from comedy and drama to crime and action, the movies well represent Korea’s history, society and culture, said the South Korean Embassy in Dhaka.
The film festival is open to all and is free of charge.
San Carlos, Oct 4 (AP/UNB) — Brandon Alexander would like to introduce you to Angus, the farmer of the future. He's heavyset, weighing in at nearly 1,000 pounds, not to mention a bit slow. But he's strong enough to hoist 800-pound pallets of maturing vegetables and can move them from place to place on his own.
Sure, Angus is a robot. But don't hold that against him, even if he looks more like a large tanning bed than C-3PO.
To Alexander, Angus and other robots are key to a new wave of local agriculture that aims to raise lettuce, basil and other produce in metropolitan areas while conserving water and sidestepping the high costs of human labor. It's a big challenge, and some earlier efforts have flopped. Even Google's "moonshot" laboratory, known as X, couldn't figure out how to make the economics work.
After raising $6 million and tinkering with autonomous robots for two years, Alexander's startup Iron Ox says it's ready to start delivering crops of its robotically grown vegetables to people's salad bowls. "And they are going to be the best salads you ever tasted," says the 33-year-old Alexander, a one-time Oklahoma farmboy turned Google engineer turned startup CEO.
In this Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, photo bok choy is seen growing in the foreground at Iron Ox, a robotic indoor farm, in San Carlos, Calif.
Iron Ox planted its first robot farm in an 8,000-square-foot warehouse in San Carlos, California, a suburb located 25 miles south of San Francisco. Although no deals have been struck yet, Alexander says Iron Ox has been talking to San Francisco Bay area restaurants interested in buying its leafy vegetables and expects to begin selling to supermarkets next year.
The San Carlos warehouse is only a proving ground for Iron Ox's long-term goals. It plans to set up robot farms in greenhouses that will rely mostly on natural sunlight instead of high-powered indoor lighting that sucks up expensive electricity. Initially, though, the company will sell its produce at a loss in order to remain competitive.
During the next few years, Iron Ox wants to open robot farms near metropolitan areas across the U.S. to serve up fresher produce to restaurants and supermarkets. Most of the vegetables and fruit consumed in the U.S. is grown in California, Arizona, Mexico and other nations. That means many people in U.S. cities are eating lettuce that's nearly a week old by the time it's delivered.
There are bigger stakes as well. The world's population is expected to swell to 10 billion by 2050 from about 7.5 billion now, making it important to find ways to feed more people without further environmental impact, according to a report from the World Resources Institute .
Iron Ox, Alexander reasons, can be part of the solution if its system can make the leap from its small, laboratory-like setting to much larger greenhouses.
The startup relies on a hydroponic system that conserves water and automation in place of humans who seem increasingly less interested in U.S. farming jobs that pay an average of $13.32 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nearly half of U.S. farmworkers planting and picking crops aren't in the U.S. legally, based on a survey by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The heavy lifting on Iron Ox's indoor farm is done by Angus, which rolls about the indoor farm on omnidirectional wheels. Its main job is to shuttle maturing produce to another, as-yet unnamed robot, which transfers plants from smaller growing pods to larger ones, using a mechanical arm whose joints are lubricated with "food-safe" grease.
It's a tedious process to gently pick up each of the roughly 250 plants on each pallet and transfer them to their bigger pods, but the robot doesn't seem to mind the work. Iron Ox still relies on people to clip its vegetables when they are ready for harvest, but Alexander says it is working on another robot that will eventually handle that job too.
Alexander formerly worked on robotics at Google X, but worked on drones, not indoor farms. While there, he met Jon Binney, Iron Ox's co-founder and chief technology offer. The two men became friends and began to brainstorm about ways they might be able to use their engineering skills for the greater good.
"If we can feed people using robots, what could be more impactful than that?" Alexander says.
Trenton, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — U.S. regulators on Tuesday approved a modernized version of a decades-old antibiotic used to treat a number of infections.
Paratek Pharmaceuticals' Nuzyra was designed to overcome the problem of resistance to tetracycline, an antibiotic widely used until recent years.
The company said the Food and Drug Administration approved Nuzyra for treating bacterial pneumonia and severe skin infections.
Paratek plans to launch the antibiotic early next year, initially for use in hospitals. It hasn't disclosed the price.
Boston-based Paratek estimates its drug could eventually treat nearly 900,000 hospitalized U.S. patients annually
About 2 million Americans get infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year and 23,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Paratek tested Nuzyra against several types of bacteria that cause pneumonia and skin infections. The drug was more effective than two standard antibiotics given to patients in comparison groups, company testing showed.
Many antibiotics no longer work well, if at all, against some bacterial infections, due to their overuse in medicine and livestock production.
Paratek's drug, also known as omadacycline, is the first in a new class of antibiotics. It's an updated version of tetracycline, a 65-year-old antibiotic that was a workhorse against skin, respiratory and other infections until increasing resistance limited its use. Paratek created its drug by tweaking tetracycline to block two common ways bacteria use to resist it.
The FDA approved both an IV version and a daily pill that patients can switch to when they leave the hospital, the company said. It will eventually market the drug for patients treated at doctors' offices and clinics.
Last week, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department announced at the United Nations General Assembly a new global effort to fight antibiotic resistance and develop new treatments. The 106 initial participants included drugmakers, government agencies, medical groups and animal food producers.
Paris, Oct 1 (AP/UNB) — As Paris Fashion Week heads toward the finish line, Sunday's shows went up a gear as L'Oreal Paris claimed to have staged the first runway show in history on the Seine River.
The star-filled extravaganza that drew crowds and halted traffic was held on a 60-meter floating podium.
Uninvited guests clambered around barriers to get a free glimpse at Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and actress Eva Longoria who took turns as models, alongside Andie MacDowell who talked ageism to AP.
Here are some of the day's highlights:
L'OREAL GOES IN-SEINE
The clothes were designed by some of the great houses of Paris fashion including Balmain, AMI, Off-White, Giambattista Valli, Elie Saab.
Yet this fashion show, much like L'Oreal's display on the Champs-Elysees last year, was always more about the show than the fashion.
A giant floating board was this season's runway — flanked by hundreds of champagne-sipping VIP guests on the river bank and others peering out from the deck of a specially-hired boat.
Drones, meanwhile, buzzed overhead to stream the action via social media to 30 different countries, and traffic along the Seine was halted for the duration of the spectacle.
The display began to cheers as a speedboat that splashed down the Seine docked some glamorous freight: out stepped model Doutzen Kroes.
L'Oreal ambassadors then flooded the runway.
British signer Cheryl appeared in provocative thigh-high boots and a one-shoulder split-leg minidress with reflective paillettes that sparkled in the blazing sun.
Elle Fanning smiled sweetly as she walked in a pastel shoulderless embroidered gown and bright red heels.
Meanwhile, American actress Aja Naomi King made her L'Oreal modeling debut in a draped pink number.
But the king and queen of the show had to be Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Eva Longoria.
The "Desperate Housewives" star stepped out in a regal, layered gunmetal mini-gown — with 2-meter-long train.
Coster-Waldau, meanwhile, was all smiles but looked slightly nervous to be there modeling to the crowds in a long-tailored coat and white shoes.
"I was surprised to be doing a catwalk. I never thought I would see the day — neither did my children!" Coster-Waldau said.
ANDIE MACDOWELL TALKS AGEISM
Ahead of the L'Oreal show, Andie MacDowell, 60, spoke to AP about ageism and her longevity in being a L'Oreal ambassador, a post she'd held for some three decades, and counting.
"I think the timing right now is really fiery as far as acceptance. And ageism is part of that acceptance," the American actress said.
"I have to say you have to give L'Oréal credit for being one of the first people to take on all ages and to take on mature people like Jane Fonda, Helen Mirren and Diane Keaton ... and keeping me," she added, humbly. (Fonda and Mirren modeled in last year's Champs-Elysees show.)
MacDowell praised the Paris cosmetics giant for being a trail-blazer when it came to "recognizing that there is no expiration date on beauty."
In "how we treat women as they get older, I think it's important to be inclusive and also have a deep respect for them," MacDowell added.
"A work in substraction," so said the house, was the spirit behind Pierpaolo Piccioli's accomplished — and pared down — display for Valentino.
Cactuses and cleanly shaped plants lined the foot of the runway, presumably in reference to the clean lines and minimalist styles that opened the show.
Deceptively simple black looks began the collection: a shoulderless baggy jumpsuit with cape and Elizabethan-style sleeves and a gown with an exaggerated peplum hem.
Their beauty lay in the subtlety of detail.
An unstructured minidress with giant flounce looked beautifully off-kilter as it hung delicately from the model's shoulder, as if it could fall off at any given point.
White looks then came, and were, alongside black, a dominant theme — speaking to the ubiquitous spring-summer trend.
Artistry was plentiful in some of these white looks: gowns with delicately-pressed pleats that seemed to fan around the belly button.
But Valentino is a couture house at heart, and despite this being a ready-to-wear show, the work of the "petites mains," or seamstresses of the age-old atelier, was on display.
An oversize, veiny wicker hat composed of billowing feather possessed a delicate organic feel, and had guests understandably reaching for their cameras.
FREIDA PINTO FINDS TIME TO STEP OUT
Indian actress Freida Pinto rocked a beautifully tailored menswear jacket look on the Valentino front row — the first time she's been seen at one of the couture house's displays.
"I'm super excited. This is really my style. It makes me feel really comfortable," she said.
"This is my first ever Valentino show... We've been trying for some time to make it work but with my schedule it's been hard," she added.
Pinto, who shot to fame with "Slumdog Millionaire," blamed her busy schedule on several "exciting" films she's starring in.
It includes the British-American fantasy adventure "Mowgli," based on the Rudyard Kipling fable set in India, in which she plays Messua, who decides to adopt the wild Mowgli, believing that he is their long-lost son Nathoo. It also features Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett.
GIVENCHY'S SLIGHT GEOMETRY
An unfathomably long laser beam led cautious guests through the pitch black to the Givenchy show inside Paris' storied Palace of Justice.
The historic stone building that housed Marie Antoinette in the last days before her execution still possesses an eerie quality that designer Clare Waight Keller nicely exploited in her nighttime show.
Thumping and gritty bass music creative a hard atmosphere, alongside the raw warehouse curtain decor.
The clothes themselves weren't quite so eerie.
There was a slight hardness to the graphic quality of some geometric bodice straps, or in the interlocking V-motif on a high collared, ankle-length gown in black.
But there was much more softness among the 59 men's and women's styles, owing to the frequent fluttering of full silk skirts, sometimes in optical print, and the soft colors.
It's hard to be gritty, after all, if you're wearing a spring-like palette of light sky blue, bluebonnet, pigment and cadmium green, and corn yellow, (balanced with off-white and on-trend black).
Some of the simpler looks — such as a series of one shoulder gowns — didn't feel like the talented British designer, alas, was pushing the envelope much this season.
But the styles ended on a high note when Waight Keller got her disco on and served up a silver, Art-Deco style column dress with armor-like shoulders.
COMMOTION AT VALENTINO
When fashion insiders tried to leave the Valentino venue at the Army Museum inside Les Invalides around 6:00 p.m., a commotion beyond the metal barriers on the street forced the security to close off the exit.
As the crowd of fashion guests swelled into the hundreds, one French editor muttering she was too important to wait pushed past angrily.
After vocal protests over being squashed, an employee of KCD PR agency explained that the police had given them instructions to stop the guests exiting the show, after someone in a vehicle had tried unsuccessfully to swerve into people on the street.
Two police officers on the scene who wouldn't give their names said an unknown person in a vehicle had tried "to ram" police officers outside the Valentino show, but didn't hurt anyone and was detained.
The fashion crowd was directed to exit via the south entrance, past the big Celine show venue with the rival house's name in huge lettering — in what was unfortunately bad optics.
ANDREAS KRONTHALER HITS THE STREET
Celebrity drag queen Violet Chachki and Milk from "Ru Paul's Drag Race" held court in a warehouse at Andreas Kronthaler x Vivienne Westwood's show.
The warehouse was an appropriate setting for an eclectic assortment of styles that riffed on the "street" in streetwear. The models, both men and women, rode skateboards and scooters.
Prints sometimes resembled graffiti, and there were sneakers, sweatpants and even the odd dog collar.
Andreas Kronthaler, 52, who took over the creative reins from his 77-year-old wife and design partner some years ago, mixed the draped gowns that are a Westwood signature with thigh-length menswear shirts, prints and text.
One of the best looks was a giant pile of fabric bags that were wrapped around the torso of a female model, perhaps a statement about the hectic pace of daily life.