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India’s Supreme Court legalizes gay sex in landmark ruling

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, September 6th, 2018

 

An LGBT community celebrating the landmark legislation in India | REUTERS

India’s top court scrapped a colonial-era ban on gay sex on Thursday (September 06) in a landmark judgment that activists hope will uphold the right to equality.

Gay sex is considered taboo by many in socially conservative India and was reinstated as a criminal offense in 2013 after four years of decriminalization.

A five-judge bench in India’s Supreme Court was unanimous in overturning the ban. Gay sex had been punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

Activists and the LGBT community welcomed the ruling celebrating in parts of India.

A law known as “Section 377” had prohibited “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” – which was widely interpreted to refer to homosexual sex. — Reuters

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15 Filipino seafarers return home after being stranded in India for 5 months

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

 

Filipino seafarers arrive home

MANILA, Philippines —After being stranded for almost five months at the port of Kakinada in India, 15 of the 21 abandoned Filipino seafarers have finally returned home to the Philippines on Saturday, November 17.

The 21 seafarers first sought the help of UNTV in October, having been abandoned by their bankrupt employer and deprived of three months worth of salary.

Meanwhile, the six other crew members are still in Kakinada including the group’s leader, Captain Alexander Apao.

They could not leave until the Admiral Shipping Agency is able to find Indian nationals who will replace them.

There would have been willing applicants but the agency refused their condition of advance payment, causing the remaining six Filipinos to be stuck a little longer in India.

The Department of Foreign Affairs assured that the remaining six Filipino seafarers will eventually make it home too after they secure their exit clearances.

The Philippine Embassy in New Delhi and the Consulate General in Chennai are working on expediting the men’s cases so that they can finally receive the benefits they deserve.  — JL Asayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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Poor air quality in India’s capital triggers health concerns

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, November 12th, 2018

 

New Delhi in smog | REUTERS

Pollution levels in New Delhi, the capital of India, are over 50 times more than the allowed limits, raising people’s concerns over health especially for children.

Four-year-old Avyan suffers from severe wheezing and chest infections, which often leading to multiple hospitalizations. Although he is under the protection of air purifiers and anti-pollution masks, his mother still worries about his health condition because the pollution in the city shows no sign of improving.

“Whenever I put a mask on him for doing the nebulizer, every time some part of me inside me cries. Because once I am pumping him with all those strong medicines, just to manage those symptoms, the other is his body really needs that to survive in this environment. So we would want him to have a very nice happy healthy childhood, but it’s sad that we are not able to give him that, just because we’re in a place which has so much of pollution,” said Anchal Garg Karanth, mother of Avyan.

Recent studies have shown that one in every three children in Delhi has impaired lung function according to the Center of Science and Environment. Doctors also say newborn babies in Delhi take in gulps of polluted air equivalent to smoking 25 cigarettes on the first day of their lives.

According to the World Health Organization, over 100,000 children died below the age of five due to the air pollution in India in 2016, which is the record high in the world. Children are particularly vulnerable to bad air because they breathe more rapidly than adults and absorb twice as many pollutants.

“If you are not oxygenating very well, your cognitive function in terms of behavior, intelligence, has a major impact, especially if it happens in the younger years because that is when the neurological system is really developing. Other than that, any chronic lung issue can impact the cardiovascular system as well,” said Anupama Gupta, a pediatrician.

Delhi’s smog is said to be a toxic mix of vehicular pollution, construction dust, and fumes from crops burnt by farmers in neighboring states. This year, the Delhi government banned all construction, digging and excavation work when the pollution levels started rising. The government might also act by taking private cars off of Delhi’s roads if pollution levels deteriorate further.

“In emergency response, you are not really solving the problem, but what you are doing is you are stopping from adding more where the situation is already very bad. But the more fundamental solution will come when you are doing a round-the-year plan and with stringent implementation of that plan,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhary, an environmentalist.

The Indian government is currently working on a national clean air plan and has suggested it aims to reduce air pollution by 30 percent in the next five years. — Reuters

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UNTV EXCLUSIVE: Embassy officials to take action on 21 abandoned seafarers in India

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, October 8th, 2018

21 Filipino seafarers abandoned by their shipping company for more than a hundred days at the port of Kakinada in India

 

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Vice Consul JB Santos will lead a team of Embassy officials in New Delhi on Thursday (October 11) to visit the 21 Filipino seafarers stranded and abandoned at Kakinada port in India.

The move is in response to the group’s request for rescue and assistance through the help of UNTV network.

The officials will check on the condition of the seafarers to assist them with the repatriation process.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato on Friday said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will immediately take action on the matter.

After UNTV notified the DFA and aired the report, the group’s head Captain Alexander Apao said they were able to take a sigh of relief because their manning agency, Evic Human Resources Management, pressured by the report, immediately wired money or part of their four months’ withheld salary to their respective families in the Philippines.

“Noong Friday, nagpadala iyong manning agency ng pera remittance doon sa mga pamilya. Medyo nakahinga ng konti sa bayarin ang mga pamilya [namin]. Then by next week, mayroon daw silang ire-remit ulit equivalent to one month allotment,” said Apao.

When the UNTV News and Rescue Team visited the manning agency in Ermita, Manila, a representative confirmed that they already purchased plane tickets for the repatriation of the seafarers though they refused to be recorded on camera.

But according to Captain Apao, they have not been notified on the matter.

“Sa ngayon wala pang natanggap na balita tungkol doon sa ticket. Wala pang sinabi ang opisina kung may ticket na ba kami, kung kailan kami makakauwi. Basta ang information ko doon sa DFA pinaprocess nila yung repatriation,” he said.

The seafarers are crew members of MV Evangelia who were abandoned by the shipping company since October 2, 2018 after it went bankrupt. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)

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