Inside the World’s First All-Female Special Forces Unit Norway’s Jegertroppen

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An explosion just a few feet away rocks the unmarked station wagon as it travels along a dirt road in the Norwegian woodland.

Immediately, two soldiers jump from their front seats and run for cover behind the carcass of an old, rusty tank. Firing their weapons at targets along the snow-covered hillside, they call for support from the rest of their unit.

This firefight is just a drill, but the soldiers taking part are battling to break down one of the final barriers to women serving in the armed forces. They are training to become part of Norway’s Jegertroppen or “Hunter Troops” — the world’s first all-female military special forces unit.

More than a year after the U.S. Department of Defense repealed a longtime ban on women serving in ground combat assignments, relatively few have been trained or assigned to these jobs in the U.S. military.

Norway has moved a lot faster to break down military gender barriers. Its parliament introduced legislation in the 1980s that opened up all military roles to women. Last year, Norway became the first NATO country to introduce female conscription.

But the introduction of the all-female special forces unit in 2014 raised the profile of women in the Norwegian military the most.

The unit was started after Norway’s Armed Forces’ Special Command saw an increased need for female special operations soldiers — particularly in places like Afghanistan where male troops were forbidden from communicating with women. The exclusion of half the population was having a detrimental impact on intelligence gathering and building community relations.

Image: A soldier rests after military training exercise at the Terningmoen Camp in Elverum, Norway

“When [Norway] deployed to Afghanistan we saw that we needed female soldiers. Both as female advisers for the Afghan special police unit that we mentored, but also when we did an arrest,” said Col. Frode Kristofferson, the commander of Norway’s special forces. “We needed female soldiers to take care of the women and children in the buildings that we searched.”

So they created the all-female unit specifically designed to train them.

“One of the advantages that we see with an all-female unit is that we can have a tailored program and a tailored selection for the female operators,” Kristofferson said, adding that at the end of the one-year program the female soldiers are just as capable as their male counterparts.

One of the unit’s members, 22-year-old Tonje, said the unit is proof that women can do the same job as men, even in the male-dominated world of the military.

“We’re carrying the same weight in the backpack as the boys,” said Tonje, who did not provide her full name due to the unit’s rules. “We do the same tasks.”

Those tasks at Terningmoen Camp, about 100 miles north of Oslo, include parachuting out of military aircraft, skiing in the Arctic tundra, navigating the wilderness and fighting in urban terrain.

She added that the weapon, backpack and other gear she carries on long marches, weighs over 100 pounds.

“I’m the smallest, so I carry as much weight as I myself weigh,” she said.

[Source:- NBC]

Kinky Cakes: Inside The World Of Adult Bakeries

Sweet n’ Nasty molds hundreds of adult chocolates in house, including these handcuffs and keys — which are used to top bachelorettes’ cakes or sold on their own with the phrase, “Eat your way out!”

Courtesy of Sweet n’ Nasty Bakery

In the early 1980s, Niki Novak’s sister bit into a cake shaped like a man’s, um, member. It was disgusting. It wasn’t the idea of the cake she found distasteful, mind you, but its actual flavor.

When Novak heard about the incident from her sister, she wondered: Why couldn’t you make risqué cakes that tasted good, too?

Thus was born Sweet n’ Nasty, a Boston bakery that specializes in confections shaped like boobs, butts and vaginas, as well as an alarming array of penises. While bachelorette parties are a natural source of business, you’d be surprised by how many other events the bakery has catered over the past 35 years.

Think birthdays, divorces, vasectomies, breast implants, job changes, prison releases, military deployments and even some bachelor parties. (“May your genitalia never fail ya.”)

And then there are the funerals.

” ‘Asses to asses, dust to dust,’ ” Novak says. “People just want it for their last send-off” — a final laugh. (In at least one case, she says, the cake was a final request from the deceased.)

Bakeries that make genitalia-themed cakes usually advertise them under a separate adult or erotic section of their websites. But Sweet n’ Nasty is hardly the only bakery to exclusively hustle these types of treats.

“Adult” doesn’t always have to mean dirty when it comes to cakes. Even traditional bakeries will churn out specialty cakes, like this divorce cake from Toronto-based Le Dolci Cakes, upon request.

Courtesy of Le Dolci Cakes

Kim Say says she hadn’t thought about making adult treats until around 2010, when someone asked her to make a cake with boobs on it. When Say realized that the customer was asking because the owner of the only adult bakery in Houston had died, she decided to start a new one, Adult Cakes by Kim.

For Say, “adult” doesn’t always mean “sexual.” Some of her cakes are infused with alcohol, or deal with the themes of adult life. “I have an entire selection of divorce cakes,” she says, noting that she can design these cakes to address specific marital problems.

For a woman who was divorcing a musician who had been cheating on her, “I got a bunch of [little plastic] guitars and then I broke them in half and I threw them all over the cake,” she says. One of Say’s customers is a lawyer who usually buys five or six divorce cakes per year to give to his clients.

Say also receives orders for breast cancer survivors. She has made flat-chested corset cakes to mark mastectomies and catered many “nipple parties” for women who have had nipple reconstruction surgery. You can order anything you want for these parties, including cupcakes that just look like huge nipples.

But there is one line neither baker will cross: tiered wedding cakes. Novak says they come with too much multiple-tastings drama.

Over the years, Novak’s bakery has received some celebrity attention. One time, when the singer Cher was signing autographs at Tower Records, a Sweet n’ Nasty employee ran over to present her with a penis pop. Cher, as Novak tells it, “was all over it.”

Novak says that her bakery is all about making people laugh while giving them something good to eat. But given the nature of her work, Novak sometimes hears customers worry about what Grandma will think when they’re picking up the cake. She says that if she hears back from those customers, “usually Grandma is the one that thinks it’s the most fun. She’s been around the longest.”

In fact, before a recent hip surgery, Novak’s 83-year-old mother worked at Sweet n’ Nasty on Sundays.

“She loves it,” Novak says. “My mother has a wonderful sense of humor. I think that’s where I get it.”

Becky Little is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter.


Inside Uber’s Plan to Beat Ola in India’s $10 Billion Ride-Sharing Market

Inside Uber's Plan to Beat Ola in India's $10 Billion Ride-Sharing Market

Inside Uber’s Plan to Beat Ola in India’s $10 Billion Ride-Sharing Market
Uber Technologies Inc unveiled its first-ever brand campaign in India last month with a video showing a tense Uber driver navigating gridlocked streets as he rushes to drop off a little girl to her school on exam day. In a Bollywood-style twist at the end, the girl turns back at the school gate and calls out to him, “Have a nice day, Papa.”

The promotion is one of many signs the world’s most valuable startup, after exiting China, is gearing up for an epic battle in India against homegrown rival ANI Technologies Pvt’s Ola. Uber is stepping up investments in the country and aiming to recruit a million drivers by 2018. The goal is clear: unseat Ola at the top of the market.

The San Francisco-based company is closing the gap. Uber says it has expanded to 28 cities in India and handled about 5.5 million rides per week in August, more than triple the amount at the start of the year. India has become its largest market after the US, in part because it agreed to sell its China business to Didi Chuxing.

“India is a strategic priority,” said Amit Jain, a former McKinsey & Co. consultant who now runs Uber’s operation in the country. “India accounts for 12 percent of all rides on our platform globally and there remains tremendous potential.”

It’s enough of a priority that Jain cut short a paternity break after the birth of his second child to rejoin the fray. At an event in New Delhi, he showed off an Uber onesie that, rather than the app’s usual “Set Pickup Location,” reads “Set Tickle Location.”

Last week in Delhi, Jain huddled with top executives from the US to plot strategy. Among the visitors were Andrew Macdonald, who runs Uber’s APAC and Latin America operations, and Rachel Whetstone, head of policy. Whetstone teamed up with India’s Commerce and Industry minister to launch UberPITCH, a service that lets entrepreneurs chat with potential investors during a car ride arranged by the company.

After the China retreat, Uber is under pressure to show it can succeed in overseas markets as it heads towards an inevitable initial public offering. It’s redoubling efforts in Asia, Europe and Latin America. It needs to justify a valuation that’s already at $69 billion (roughly Rs. 4,59,350 crores), the most for any venture-backed startup in the world and more than General Motors Co. or Tesla Motors Inc.

“Now that it has exited China, India is the most important market for Uber outside of the US,” said Kartik Hosanagar, a professor of technology and digital business at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. “India will be crucial in terms of both demonstrating success in large international markets and long-term growth potential.”

(Also see: Uber vs Ola: How the Fight for the Indian Taxi Market Ended Up in Court)

There are parallels to the fateful battle in China. Once again, Uber faces an entrenched local competitor that has jumped out to an early lead. Again, the domestic rival is led by a crafty thirty-something with intimate knowledge of the market and a venture capital-stocked warchest. The market is surging in India too, projected to hit $10 billion as people look for alternatives to the poor public transport systems and the pricey options for buying cars.

One critical difference: Ola has nowhere near the funding Didi had. The local leader has raised $1.2 billion, compared with $10 billion for the Chinese company. Didi’s CEO Cheng Wei could afford to spend heavily on recruiting drivers and customers, creating such painful losses for Uber as it tried to keep up that its investors pushed for a truce. Ola can’t afford a similar strategy, given Uber has raised more than $10 billion.

Ola co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal does have the advantage of six years in the business and a deep understanding of local customers. In one episode two years ago that drew praise in the national press, Aggarwal and his employees commandeered boats during flooding in Chennai to help with government rescue efforts. He’s also stayed ahead with innovations in the business – letting customers pay with cash since few have credit cards, introducing multiple language apps because many drivers don’t read English and debuting a ride-later feature that Uber copied after many months. Ola provides a broader range of ride options too, from three-wheeler autorickshaws to luxury Jaguars and Mercedes.
Ola operates in three times as many cities as Uber and claims that total rides in just its cheapest-category “Micro” auto service exceed Uber’s entire business in the country. “Money is not the thing that wins the market. It is experience,” Aggarwal said in an interview this summer. Ola declined to comment for this story.

Jain and Uber are starting to test that theory. They’re stepping up spending to recruit drivers and investing in technology to broaden and customize their services. They’re building up engineering and support teams in Bangalore and Delhi. Uber is also holding discussions with the government to allow employees to book rides through the official procurement portal.

Jain is adapting Uber’s service to the peculiarities of India. Because credit cards are rare, Uber started accepting cash payments in the country, a first globally. Given poor Internet coverage, the company last month began letting users book a ride without having to download its app, another global first. Uber also introduced a Help button on its app that triggers an emergency alert after a high-profile incident involving an Uber driver’s rape of a young woman passenger in New Delhi in 2014. Last week, it introduced the safety feature in South Africa after similar incidents there.

“The merger with Didi has freed up resources for additional focus on customer experience and technology,” said Jain.

He’s doing more than spending money. He takes Uber for pretty much every trip through Delhi’s traffic-snarled streets, using his own car only to ferry his daughter to school. He wants to check quality and make improvements. “We want to provide a service so reliable, affordable and convenient that people rethink private car ownership,” he said.

Ola and Uber often look to be one-upping each other. After Uber’s app-less service started last month, Ola started letting users book rides through text messaging. In a move to recruit drivers, Ola struck a deal with automaker Mahindra & Mahindra to make it more affordable for thousands of people to buy their own cars. Uber negotiated a similar agreement with Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest carmaker.

The rivals have extended their battle into the courtroom. In a lawsuit earlier this year, Uber accused Ola of creating fake accounts and making false bookings to interfere with its business. Ola denied the allegations, calling them “frivolous and false”.

Jain wouldn’t disclose how much Uber is losing in the market, but people familiar with the matter say it’s tens of millions of dollars a month. That’s still far less than the $2 billion it burned through in China.

Rushabh Doshi, a Singapore-based analyst with Canalys, said Uber’s advertising campaign will likely help it gain more ground in India, especially among late adopters who are just getting smartphones and trying services like WhatsApp and Facebook. He thinks Jain may have to get more aggressive given the pressure on Uber to make progress in the country.

Jain sounds up for it. Uber is investing more in India, he explains, in part because it can use innovations there in similar markets around the world, where Internet coverage is poor or credit cards aren’t in use. In that sense, the battle with Ola is about more than India. “It pushes us to innovate,” he said.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Ola, Uber, Uber India, Apps, Uber Cabs, India, Startups


Firefighters Shoo Away Child Bear Rummaging Via Man’s Fridge Inside Second Floor Condominium

Firefighters Shoo Away Baby Bear Rummaging Through Man's Refrigerator Inside Second Floor Apartment

The suspect, described as a fluffy Baby Bear, about 2-toes in height, scurried from the Apartment and out of sight.
They hooped and hollered and banged on the walls, grown guys in head to toe firefighting toolstogether with helmets — dispatched in the midnight to a 2d Floor Condominium in a small Colorado town to ward of a pesky, unwanted intruder.

“Yahhh!” one Man yelled.

Go on!” every other shouted.

Permit him come out and then yell at him,” another chimed in.

Pass on buddy,” someone coaxed. “Come on.”

Then the guys, clustered together in a good hallway, watched their goal emerge.

Snout first.

The suspect, described as a fluffy Infant Bear, approximately 2-feet in top, scurried from the Condo and out of sight.

“No injuries (to human or Endure) were pronounced,” wrote the Eagle River Fire Protection District in a Fbpost accompanying video photos of the standoff.

The Hearth branch changed into dispatched to the scene, together with deputies from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, at four:forty five Saturday morning. The Condominium, in the town of Avon,approximately a hundred miles west of Denver, became positioned on the second one Ground,authorities stated. The human occupying the gap woke to the sounds of the suspect rummaging Via hisFridge.

An reliable cause become now not released, however government hinted the Bear might also were inwarm pursuit of a past due night time snack.

The man barricaded himself in his bedroom till the scene became secured, authorities said.

Expenses of breaking and getting into have now not but been filed towards the Undergo.

Bruin burglars run rampant in the western U.S..

In August 2015, an Idaho Man returned from vacation to find his home were ransacked. The intruder had eaten his manner Via the residence, consuming some flour, brownie mix, and a Toblerone. He washed it down with a can of Pepsi. The following night, the Bear back for round but failed to get too far.

A month later, a mama Endure and cub duo busted into a domestic in Wyoming. They entered Through adisplay screen door.

A Colorado lady got here domestic one afternoon and found a Undergo cub perched on her kitchen counter. The cub, his sibling and his mom had squeezed in Thru an open window. They feasted on caninefood, cakes and — of direction — honey.

Natural world officials say it is the task of humans to prevent Undergo burglaries. The animal seeks outfood resources because it prepares for a hibernating wintry weather, and will choose the perfectalternative, according to Colorado Parks and Flora and fauna. Bears can climb, and will scale treesdeveloping near homes to benefit access to food. officers endorse people who live in Undergo-populated areas to hold garbage Internal and chorus from installing bird feeders until months whilebears are hibernating.

© 2016 The Washington put up

(This story has now not been edited with the aid of NDTV team of workers and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)