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  • ICSP Scholarships at University of Oregon USA

    Brief description:

    International students who demonstrate financial need and exceptional merit may apply for the International Cultural Service Program (ICSP).  The ICSP scholarship has a cultural service component which requires students to give presentations about their home country to children, community organizations, and UO students, faculty and staff

    Host Institution(s):

    Oregon University, USA

    Field(s) of study:

    Eligible programmes offered at the University

    Number of Scholarships:

    Not specified.

    Target group:

    International students who demonstrate financial need and exceptional merit 

    Scholarship value/inclusions:

    Tuition waiver worth $7,500 – $30,000.

     

    Eligibility:

    1. Applicants must be admissible or fully admitted to the University of Oregon. New students must apply for admission to the UO for 2017-18 by 15 January 2017. 
    2. Applicants cannot be U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or eligible to receive U.S. federal financial assistance.
    3. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and meet the minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA requirement

    ICSP students agree to complete 80 hours per year of cultural service as required by the program.

    Application instructions:

    To apply, you must complete the application form and submit supporting documents by 15 January  2017.

    It is important to visit the official website (link found below) to access the application form and for detailed information on how to apply for this scholarship.

    Website:

    Official Scholarship Website: https://isss.uoregon.edu/icsp

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  • Everything You Need To Know About Sugar Babies

    “I always say this and people take it the wrong way, but I think it’s awkward to date someone who makes less money than me.”

     

    This bold statement comes from Brook, a pretty 24-year-old who is easily the centre of gravity at the bar we’re in. Originally from California, she has long brown hair falling in loose curls to her shoulders, and a confident manner that makes socialising a breeze.

    She’s good company, and she knows it – if I were wealthy and had a penis, she might even charge me for it. Brook is a sugar baby, you see. She arranges relationships with sugar daddies, men (usually older, always richer) who shower her with gifts and money.

    We’re in a bar in central London, drinking strawberry-topped champagne with 30 other women who want to be more like Brook. Hosted bySeekingArrangement.com, an online dating site for sugar relationships, this is an event for sugar babies to network and swap tips. Brook, who’s been a sugar baby for four years, is a spokeswoman for the brand and says it’s not all about the money.

    “I want to feel that someone’s on my level and that I can learn from them, and that they’re at least as successful as me. It’s just, like, you have to have a similar lifestyle expectation to get along. And that’s true of any successful relationship.”

    Since launching in 2006, Seeking Arrangement has swelled to over 5.5 million members. If you’re in search of a pretty young thing and are prepared to put your money where your heart is, then the odds are in your favour – a whopping 4 million of Seeking Arrangement’s users are sugar babies. Just be aware that joining the site will pit you against other sugar daddies with an average salary of around £220,000.

    But despite Seeking Arrangement’s many members, mainstream morality still tends to look down on sugar babies. Outlandish Daily Mail headlines decry such scandalous behaviour, while ‘gold digger’ is still a common insult used to describe a manipulative woman willing to use her sexuality to ensnare a rich, unwitting man. Is that really what’s going on in modern sugar relationships?

    As I stand here in this pretend-cave bar, surrounded by fake foliage and an exotic fish tank, I can’t help but be reminded of the kitsch 90s game show Man O Man. To many, the concept of sugar dating is just as throwback. At a time when women are free to pursue their own careers and make their own money, why do sugar babies choose to stay dependent upon men? Just as the rise of third-wave feminism tries to crush the idea that a woman’s worth comes only from her ability to attract men, why do sugar babies appear to be running backwards towards old, sexist tropes? And what kind of man is actually willing to pay money for a ‘relationship’?

    The Spoiling

    Brook first fell into the sugar game as a 20-year old journalism student. In the bar of Las Vegas' five-star Cosmopolitan hotel, a 37-year old man who “made most of his money in tech” decided to make his move on her.

    They arranged to meet for dinner and hit it off. The following weekend she visited him in Miami where they checked into a fancy hotel room and went shopping. In the five months the long-distance relationship lasted, Brook was treated to a series of holidays, Louis Vuitton shoes and more shopping. But it ended when things started getting too serious. “He wanted me to move to Miami and switch schools, and I didn’t want that because I wasn’t ready – I couldn’t even drink,” she tells me.

    It wasn’t actually until a friend told her to join Seeking Arrangement that Brook realised she had been a sugar baby. “I was like, ‘What do you mean? There’s a word for that?’” Not only did she sign up to the site, but she applied for a job there and now travels the world representing the brand.

    Brook sees the main difference between a sugar relationship and a “normal” relationship as “the spoiling. And me being OK with being spoiled. A lot of women are not okay with even having dinner paid for them. They’re not comfortable with a man taking care of them,” she says.

    “And I totally, 100% respect that, more power to you. But there’s the other girls who don’t want to go Dutch, who do want a guy to take care of them, who expect a guy to pay – and I’ve always expected a guy to pay.”

    Mutually Beneficial 

    Although the bar is largely full of young women, keen to learn how to turn their encounters into something financially rewarding, my expectations are being challenged. I spot a young man, seeking a sugar daddy himself perhaps – or maybe a sugar mama? It’s not just the older-guy-and-younger-girl stereotype. Roughly 1 in 8 sugar babies on Seeking Arrangement are men (a mix of both straight and LGBT men), while for every three sugar daddy members there is also one sugar mama.

    Brook tells me about sugar daddies who aren’t looking for sex because they’re older and unable to perform, or married men whose wives don’t want to hear all of their gripes at the end of the day. “They want to have a beautiful girl who will touch their arm and tell them everything’s OK,” she says.

    “I know a sugar daddy who was going through a transition late in life to become a woman,” Brook says. She talks of a transgender woman who had recently divorced her wife of around 40 years and now had no one to talk to. Through Seeking Arrangement, she found a female sugar baby who taught her how to wear makeup, accompanied her in public during her transition and who she could talk to.

    For Laura*, 21, a sugar relationship saved her from a situation that had become increasingly desperate. As a student in London nearing her exams, she was forced to get a restraining order on her house mate, who had become aggressive and had started destroying her possessions.

    Moving into emergency accommodation, she was left with piling housing debts, which weren’t helped by a scheming landlord who had stolen her deposit. Around the same time, one of her parents lost their job while the other was demoted, and Laura worked three jobs in order to pay her rent and send money home for their mortgage. Unsurprisingly, she became ill from the stress.

    “I was like, even with all my jobs, I need to move and stat, or otherwise I don’t even know what’s going to happen to me,” she says. “I was thinking about sex work and escorting. But I was like, I don’t want to get into sex work through desperation.”

    When Laura joined Seeking Arrangement, her first few dates were “completely platonic”. “I was like, I’m not going to sleep with anyone, I’m just here for theatre shows, trips, companionship. And I managed to make a few hundred just from that.”

    Then she met a couple in their thirties who shared similar interests with her and who she got on well with. They paid her £500 a month to be in an open relationship with them and took her to Paris. Laura says the sex developed naturally. “They weren’t paying me to have sex with them, they were paying me because we were in a relationship. They cared about me.”

    Although the relationship ended after six or seven months, the experience was, for Laura, a positive one, and she continues to seek sugar relationships today.  “All my other relationships have been platonic. Just from the last couple of weeks I’ve made £500 from dates with people. So I think it can be such a good thing for girls to do.”

     

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  • The nine-year-old Kashmiri girl who rules the kickboxing world

    Tajamul Islam won the sub-junior World Kickboxing Championship in Italy in November.She has been winning local championships since last year, and now aspires to participate in the Olympics. Photographer Abid Bhat chronicles the life and times of the troubled region's newest heroine.

    Tajamul comes from a village in Bandipora district, some 65km (40 miles) from the main city of Srinagar. Her father works as a driver with a construction company and earns 10,000 rupees ($146; £117) a month.

    She began kickboxing at an early age and picked up a gold medal in a state championship in Jammu last year. She defeated a 13-year-old opponent to pick up the gold medal in India's national kickboxing championship in 2015. 

     More Here

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  • Ethiopian Opposition leader Arrested for trespassing state of emergency rulings

    Awramba Times (Addis Ababa) – Ethiopian security agents have arrested Merera Gudina (PhD), chairman of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress today. Merera was arrested at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport while returning back to his home country from abroad.

    Reliable sources disclosed to Awramba Times that the cause for Merera Gudina’s arrest is trespassing the state of emergency rulings. More updates to come 

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  • Ethiopia’s internet crackdown hurts everyone

    Ethiopia has never been an easy place to operate. But a six-month state of emergency, combined with internet and travel restrictions imposed in response to a wave of anti-government protests, means it just got a whole lot harder.

    The government has targeted the mobile data connections that the majority of Ethiopians use to get online. Internet users have also been unable to access Facebook Messenger and Twitter, with a host of other services also rendered unreliable. 

    This has impacted everyone: from local businesses, to foreign embassies, to families, as well as the extensive and vital international aid community.

    “Non-governmental organisations play crucial roles in developing countries, often with country offices in the capitals, satellite offices across remote regions, and parent organisations in foreign countries,” said Moses Karanja, an internet policy researcher at Strathmore University in Nairobi.  “They need access to the internet if their operations are to be efficiently coordinated.”

    The Ethiopian government has been candid about the restrictions being in response to year-long anti-government protests in which hundreds of people have died.

    It has singled out social media as a key factor in driving unrest. Since the beginning of October, there has been a spike in violence resulting in millions of dollars’ worth of damage to foreign-owned factories, government buildings and tourist lodges across Oromia Region, initially ground zero for the dissent.

    “Mobile data will be permitted once the government assesses that it won’t threaten the implementation of the state of emergency,” government spokesman Getachew Reda – who has since been replaced – told a 26 October press conference in Addis Ababa.

    The Oromo are the country’s largest ethnic group, constituting 35 percent of the country’s nearly 100 million population. They have historically felt ignored by successive regimes in Addis Ababa. In August, similar grassroots protest broke out among the Amhara, Ethiopia’s second largest ethnic group. The ruling EPRDF is portrayed by opponents as a narrow, unrepresentative clique that refuses to share power.

    Ethiopia is not alone in its approach to political unrest. Around the world, as countries become increasingly integrated with online technology, the more autocratic governments are blocking the internet whenever they deem it necessary.

    “The trend appears to be growing because more people are going online and using the internet, often through the use of mobile connections,” said Deji Olukotun of Access Now, which campaigns for digital rights. In 2016, it documented 50 shutdowns, up from less than 20 in 2015.

    “People are enjoying the freedom and opportunity that the internet provides, which enables them to organise themselves and advocate for what they want,” Olukotun told IRIN. “In response, governments are shutting down the net to stop this practice.”

    More Here

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