Three students win firstever UNYouTube online video contest on hunger

16 October 2008Three university students from the United States will head to Ethiopia next month to film the work of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) after winning the first-ever online video competition organized by the agency and YouTube to raise awareness about global hunger. The winning video, entitled “Time is Running Out,” highlights the grim fact that a child dies of hunger every six seconds by featuring a series of photos of children in groups, with some slowly fading out of the picture, with the sound of a ticking clock in the background.The video was produced by three students from Auburn University in Alabama – Emma Thompson, Meri Kate Purgason and Collin Butler – who beat out some tough competition, including a professional filmmaker, in the HungerBytes competition, launched by WFP last November and hosted on YouTube.“We feel deeply moved and honoured,” said Ms. Purgason, a 20-year-old marketing student. “I believe the war on hunger is one that can be fought and won – and that gives me a lot of hope.”Their video, which can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_fpRmpafwo, was chosen from among five finalists chosen by a panel of leading figures in the fields of film, web and humanitarian aid, including Edward Zwick, Director of Blood Diamond and The Last Samurai, Oscar-winning producer Cathy Schulman (.Crash, Darfur Now, The Illusionist) and Steve Grove, head of YouTube News and Politics. The five finalist videos, narrowed down from more than 70 short video entries, were on view for two months of voting on YouTube, with the winning video being the one that garnered the most views.The four runners-up are a video of a man struggling to open a tin can without tools, a woman miming cooking a meal without food, a well-to-do family sitting down to dinner and choosing which one of them is to eat that night, and a group of young people asking everyone to pitch in to make a difference in the fight against hunger.The winners were announced today to coincide with World Food Day, which seeks to draw attention to the 923 million people around the globe who go hungry every day.“We wanted to reach a new group of activists and humanitarians,” said Nancy Roman, WFP’s Director of Communications. “The YouTube generation is confident, forward-thinking and web-savvy. Their involvement in hunger initiatives can have a powerful and widespread impact on the fight against hunger.”During the trip to Ethiopia, the winning team will visit WFP’s largest food assistance operation, which is currently targeting an estimated 9.6 million hungry people suffering from the effects of drought and high food prices. read more

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Five police officers arrested over alleged extrajudicial killing

According to Thushara Sampath (20), the eldest son of the deceased, Chandrasiri, a father of 3 children left home at 4.45 a.m. on that day to proceed to his place of business Thalpitiya in Wadduwa. Chandrasiri was a fish trader by profession.Later Sampath learned from his friend that his father had been arrested by a team of police officers at around 5 a.m. at the Thalpitiya Junction and brought to the Wadduwa Police Station. Immediately upon hearing the news Sampath went to the police station where he found his father lying on the floor of a cell. Chandrasiri was a key witness in a case filed against the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Wadduwa Police Station where the petitioner, the owner of a hotel in the same area, states that his fundamental rights were violated by the OIC and other police officers. Five police officers, including an Officer in Charge (OIC) were arrested today over the death of a suspect in police custody in April 2012.Nimal Chandrasiri Dahanayke (42), a fisherman of Thalpitiya, Wadduwa, died while in the custody of the Wadduwa Police. When he approached the bars of the cell, his father was able to recognise him and Sampath could see that he was in great pain. He further observed that his father was bleeding from the injuries on his face and pleaded with the police officers on duty to provide some water for his father. However, the officers ignored his request. Sampath then rushed to home and informed his mother and took her to the police station. On their arrival, a police officer told them that Chandrasiri had been admitted to the Panadura Base Hospital.They went to the base hospital and learned from the hospital staff that the officers had handed over the body to the mortuary indicating that he was pronounced dead on arrival. (Colombo Gazette) According to the information that the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) had received at the time, Chandrasiri Dasanayaka of Thalpitiya, Wadduwa was illegally arrested by the police officers attached to the Wadduwa Police Station and later extrajudicially killed inside the station on 15 April 2012. read more

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