Congolese arrested ‘simply for wearing red clothes’ in DRC cities

Authorities in the Democratic body shapewear  Republic of Congo  (DRC) have arrested large numbers of people “simply because they were wearing red clothes”, claimed a pro-democracy activist. Security services said people wearing the colour were trying to give President Joseph Kabila “the red card” for refusing to step down, he added.

The resource-rich African  nation is on a political knife-edge after Kabila stayed in power on Tuesday (20 December) despite the expiration of his last constitutional term in office, but his administration announced a new government in an apparent effort at appeasing opposition criticism.

The regime quelled protests against Kabila’s perceived attempts to remain in power beyond the legal limit set by the constitution with an excessive and visible deployment of a military dispositive all over the country, alongside police patrols.

“Everyone who was wearing a red item of clothing was arrested in Goma yesterday. More than 40 people were arrested that way,” Serge Sivya, a young activist of pro-democracy youth movement Lutte pour le Changement (Struggle For Change, Lucha), exclusively told IBTimes UK from Goma. He described the situation in the city as calm on Tuesday morning. Independent reports from human rights groups confirmed the arrests.

Sivya said: “The president has really invested in the menace. A police official said they would prevent people from demonstrating in the streets in all major cities, in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Goma and Bukavu. Obviously, since Sunday, police officers and military forces have invested all the junctions.”

Sivya confirmed a Lucha activist, Fabrice, was also arrested yesterday by two government intelligence agency Agence Nationale de Renseignements (ANR) officers and is still detained in a cell in the Goma commune. “He was arrested because an officer recognised him and knew he was a Lucha activist. He was arrested simply for that,” Sivya said.

Authorities are yet to formulate a case, and no charges have so far been brought against the detained activist. “Today, we demand to know what charges are against him,” Sivya said.

Repeated sounds of gunshots were reportedly heard in the capital Kinshasa where Lucha supporters are also active, hours after police and military forces surrounded students of the University of Kinshasa – known as Unikin – using whistles. Braving security forces, residents were out in the streets, chanting slogans, on Tuesday morning.

Sivya said: “This is a widespread campaign of intimidation, people are scared of going out in Goma and Kinshasa. Today, in Goma, people are going out but they are feeling very fearful of the huge police and army deployment, patrolling everywhere, because, at any time, they can start firing with heavy weapons.”

‘They must know that no one can govern a country by challenge or threat’Authorities announced the new interim government “purely to defy the will of the Congolese people”, Sivya claimed, explaining that Congolese were only expecting an interim government to be appointed at the conclusion of the “national dialogue” mediated by DRC’s powerful Catholic Church (CENCO).

People chant against President Kabila during demonstrations in Kinshasa on 20 DecemberReuters/Thomas MukoyaWhile the activist said “frustration is still very big”, he described how fellow Congolese were “holding back because we are scared of the determination of armed groups.” On Monday, seven people were killed, including a member of National Police and a Monusco peacekeeper, and two peacekeepers injured in Mayi-Mayi militia attacks on several areas of Butembo, Beni territory, in North Kivu province. Monusco strongly condemned the attack.

There is a real risk armed rebels could use the political crisis as a some sort of justification “to retake up arms and reclaim ‘lost terrain'” amid a security vacuum in some areas, according a human rights activists monitoring the situation.

Monusco, the UN peacekeeping mission, and Kabila’s government have heavily deployed their troops and presence in cities such as Kinshasa and Katana where opposition is high and youths are “leaving many ‘hot areas’ and their population vulnerable to attack”, Vava Tampa, the founder of Save the Congo, exclusively told IBTimes UK. “I also fear sections of the regime could encourage many militia groups to do just that to create chaos and use it to cling to power,” he added.

In Goma, Sivya said Lucha has received credible reports of young people who formed groups to protest using violence.

“We believe they could be armed. In light of this, and because we didn’t want to be confused with them, we just wanted to enter in the quartiers (neighbourhoods) to speak to people but did not call for frontal demonstrations,” Sivya explained. “While we deplore the fact that this tension could bring some people to protest using violence, we continue to think about actions to carry out because it is not acceptable that Kabila’s mandate came to an end and nothing happened. It is not acceptable that he thinks that everyone agrees with him.

In light of this risk, Lucha said it has not finalised plans for action on the ground. “We need to think of a strategy – how are we going to demonstrate and not be confused with those people – that’s our challenge today because demonstrations need to take place.”

“It’s important for the world to know that, if Congolese people are not protesting against Kabila’s clawing to power, it is not because we are naive and that they [the regime] have won. They must know that no one can govern a country by challenge or threat. As long as the people don’t agree with this and feels alien to what is happening, there is no guarantee that, at any time, things will develop that they won’t be able to stifle.”

A top adviser to the president, Michael Sakombi, told IBTimes UK: “We will do the best we can to ensure stability and peace because we are the government. We can’t let people get on the streets and start destabilising the country.”


Amazon’s delivery drones trained to deal with dogs and clothes lines

Amazon hasn’t given up on cheap sexy clothes its dreams of using drones to deliver packages – rather, numerous tests still need to be performed and the retail giant is trucking along in the background to get the technology where it needs to be in order to make drone deliveries possible.

According to Backchannel Magazine, at the  secret invite-only MARS 2017 conference on 19 March, Amazon held the first live demonstration of the Amazon Prime Air unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flying and landing on a lawn carrying a familiar cardboard box.

Amazon has been testing out delivery drones since 2015, and in July 2016 signed a major partnership with the UK government to explore the safe use of drones to make deliveries in rural and suburban areas. The testing ground in the UK is located in Babraham, a small village in South Cambridgeshire, but UAVs are also being tested at an undisclosed semi-rural location somewhere in America.

Fast speeds and long flying rangeThe drones have been built to fly at speeds of at least 60mph, at altitudes of between 200-400ft. Although this is a relatively low altitude, if Amazon’s dreams are to be realised legislation will have to be put in place to disclose where it is safe for drones to fly. Anywhere that falls under Class B airspace, which is from ground level to 10,000ft, must be kept clear as these areas are directly in the path of commercial aircraft flights.

The Prime Air delivery drones have battery life capable of handling a 20-mile roundtrip flight from the Amazon warehouse to the customer and back, where the battery is swapped out before the next flight. GPS will guide the UAV to its destination, and when the drone reaches the customer’s residential property it will land on a unique marker pre-determined by the customer.

The customer will place a welcome mat in a suitable location, such as the back garden, and the drone will hone in on the marker to land.

Sophisticated obstacle avoidance and safety systemBackchannel got an exclusive look at the first live demonstration of an Amazon Prime Air drone at the secret MARS 2017 conference in MarchBackchannel MagazineThe retail giant’s artificial intelligence experts are also working on an obstacle avoidance system to help it avoid danger, such as a rule to help them detect clothes lines. The testing grounds also feature a simulated dog to help Amazon see how UAVs would respond to a canine trying to protect its territory.

Another idea is for the drones to land on rooftops in a city so that people who live in apartments can get their packages. In this case, it would make sense for each drone to be able to pick up and drop off multiple packages at once.

Amazon is also designing a system to help the drone protect itself when it senses a danger to itself or others. In such a situation, the drone will immediately abort the planned flight and return to base or search for a safe landing spot from which to send a rescue signal.

The retail giant’s ideas sound immensely interesting, but only time will tell if the technology will mature enough for mass use, as all of these scenarios will have to be exhaustively proven to authorities around the world before Amazon Prime Air can take off.

Maternity Shapewear for fashion women

Shapewear. It’s a weapon most curvy girls have in our arsenal. But with the gazillion types and varieties out there to choose from, it can be more than a little overwhelming. I know that it was for me, when I first made the plunge to invest in one.

Fortunately, The Curvy Fashionista is NO STRANGER to giving us the tips and tricks necessary. We’ve written about shapewear basics in the past. But I’m a firm believer in making sure our knowledge is retained. Now that dress season is currently underway, now is the perfect opportunity to revisit the subject of shapewear. Are you ready for a refresher course? Let’s get started!

This SPANX sculpting shaper is lightweight and powerful, featuring fully bonded front panels and edge bonded side panels for comfortable squeeze free slimming.

From full body shapewear, which provides complete and total coverage, to waist cinchers, which makes your silhouette like Whoah, shapewear can help you smooth and slinkify (not a real word, but work with me!) your curves. This of course can accentuate your look all season!

We hope that this maternity shapewear quick little refresher course was just the tools you needed to help make the choice to try shapewear for yourself. If you’re no stranger to them, perhaps we helped you find the next piece to add to your lingerie collection!


Clothes tell the world who you are – but first you’ve got to figure that out

As this column is part maternity shapewear of a fashion special, it seemed an opportune time to write about one of my pet fashion subjects. No, not how Rob Lowe’s vest in St Elmo’s Fire is the most important contribution to men’s style in the history of cinema (that requires more space than a mere column). Rather, about women’s relationship with fashion. Contrary to what some will have you believe, this does not begin and end with Kate Moss giving us all eating disorders. Fashion is the most universal form of self expression, and we can debate all day whether it’s a sign of tragic self effacement or delightful defiance that so many women use clothes to make a statement about themselves. Rather than disappearing up my own peplum by arguing theoreticals, I’m more interested in how our relationship with clothes changes as our relationship with ourselves shifts. Welcome to The Five Fashion Ages Of Women.

The Golden Age (birth to early adolescence) This period of life, when you look at relatives who gift you clothing as second only to the Child Catcher in evilness, is a blissful prelapsarian state, because you have the self confidence not to need to outsource your self expression. Rather, you saunter through life with the unapologetic ballsiness of Marion Kelly, who famously gatecrashed her father’s Skype interview with BBC News and is now very much my role model for life. Some girls start to show an interest in exaggerated femininity: frills, ballet dresses, pink. (You will not be wildly surprised to know I was such a girl.) This is just an extension of what all fashion should be to the under 13s, and that is “a costume”.

The Fall (teens early 20s) Self awareness hits, big time, and the result is rarely happy or photogenic. In my early school days, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what made some girls (not me) cool and other girls (me) not. Was it that the cool ones all had older siblings? Or names that ended in “I”? (Nikki, Tiffani: it was the 80s.) Was it because they were allowed to watch TV with advertisements? Obviously, the answer to all of the above was and remains a strong affirmative, but at the age of 14 a suddenly more important factor presented itself: fashion. By now, we were in the 90s, which meant baggy trousers and cropped tops: not a natural look for a skinny legged, pot bellied Jewish girl. But this is when you try to assert your identity, and because at this age you are still blurred around the edges and have no idea who you are, you do this by copying the people around you.

The Joy (late 20s mid 30s) This is when things get fun – after all, fashion, like all the fun things in life, is made for this age group. In my 20s, I lived with two friends in a former travel agency in east London (swivel chairs and out of date maps of Pakistan piled in one corner), and occasionally I had spare cash for essentials such as Topshop skater dresses and Miu Miu alice bands. It was an adult version of how I dressed as a child, and while I still had no idea who I was, really, I was at least being true to my 25 year old self, which turned out to be the same as my five year old self.

The Uncertainty (mid 30s 40s) “I have no idea what to wear,” is a cry common among women of this age, but what they really mean is, “I have no idea who I am any more.” Perhaps their bodies are blasted after having babies, perhaps they’ve realised they’re turning 40 – not “one day”, as Sally sobbed in When Harry Met Sally, but yesterday. I never felt less myself than when I was slopping around the house on maternity leave in tracksuit bottoms and a giant sweatshirt – not by choice, but because bodily fluids of every colour were leaking out of my person, so I wore my equivalent of the invisibility cloak. When finally I fitted back into my normal clothes, I was almost as happy as the day I gave birth, because I felt like I’d come back to myself. I swear, clothes that mute personality (including work suits) are bad for mental health.

The Purple Era (50s onwards) I have never felt the need to wait for old age to break out the purple, but I agree with the spirit of Jenny Joseph’s poem. I know some older women opt for self effacing black, but I would urge them to take inspiration from Betty White: while in her youth White wore gowns, now she opts for patterned blouses and cute pastel trousers, and has never looked happier. Best of all, White once said she finishes off every day with an ice cold vodka and a hot dog, which is the chicest thing I’ve ever heard. After all, she is being her own self, which is what true style is all about, even if it takes a lifetime to find it.


Spanx’s New Bridal Collection Hardly Looks Like Shapewear at All

The new collection, maternity shapewear Spotlight on Lace, is already available online. But you’ll hardly recognize the body-contouring collection as shapewear since it’s so sexy, flirty, and fun. The four-piece capsule, ranging in price from $38 to $78, comes in white, black, vintage rose, and pale gray and includes a flirty bralette, smoothing briefs, high-waisted short-shorts, and a full-on bodysuit. It will be available in sizes XS to 2X.

“Women, especially brides and bridesmaids, have been asking for product that they could wear on their special day that was pretty and powerful,” Spanx’s founder Sara Blakely said in a release, adding that “the best part of designing this collection was the research that went behind it,” because they came up with a new kind of “shaping lace” that is deceptively delicate-looking.

Woman lingerie range is for all shapes and sizes

As an advocate for ‘body positivity’ local actress, television presenter and DJ Thando Thabethe tries her hand in a underwear and shapewear range, called ‘Thabooty’s’.

The much anticipated range was launched at the vibrant venue overlooking the city of joburg, Randlords with local celebrities such as Somizi “SomGaga” Mhlongo, stylish wardrobe stylist Tshepi Vundla, local djs PH and Ms Cosmo and Farieda Metsileng, commonly known as Pharoahfi.

This marks the beginning of a new era for women of all shapes, sizes, colours and creeds, providing a new calibre of comfort, style and support not currently found in off-the- rack stores.

Thabooty’s underwear and shapewear provides a new outlook on shapewear, with sexy, appealing garments.

Thabethe said that the idea to start an underwear and shapewear range was inspired by her struggles to find off-the- rack shapewear that was both appealing to the eye as well as functional.

“I wanted to create something women wouldn’t be ashamed to wear, and something that would meet my functional needs. Whether it was to even out, control or contour, I needed something that wouldn’t roll down my body or make me feel like I was wearing a blanket underneath my clothes,” said Thabethe.

“Looking at what I found wrong with the underwear and shapewear I found, they were too thick, too lumpy. If felt like I was wear a blanket underneath my clothes or I would be sweating and you can’t even breathe.

The idea was to find breathable and comfortable underwear that was also functional and sexy,” said Thabethe.

One of the local guests who loved the concept by Thabethe was, Tshepi Vundla who told The Star that it was great that she was representing the ‘black girl magic’.
“All props to her and congratulations.

“Seeing black girls do something great is awesome, especially in field that is not often done. I think she the first in SA in terms of the ‘it girls’ to make a range of underwear and shapewear,” said Vundla.

Bottoms Up For Shapewear Company UKLingerie

Shapewear is becoming one of the most popular categories of legwear in the world. The legwear industry used to produce shapewear tights and other items of hosiery and lingerie for the plus size market, but this type of clothing is expanding its range to offer items to women of all sizes.

In 2017, it’s common for legwear retailers to find themselves with as many customers in a size 12 as they do in a size 22. This type of clothing has even become popular among celebrities and models, with journalists and publications photographing the Kardashians in these kinds of garments.

Spanx is one of the biggest brands in the world of shapewear. Their range is well known for having a garment for everyone, with graduated support tights, boxer brief control tights, hold in knickers, and so much more.

Spanx is expanding its range to include a range of new and exciting garments, like the arm tights, a series of designs that provide opaque coverage for the arms and upper torso. These look like the upper third of a dancer’s leotard and are ideal for keeping your arms warm without having to cover up the rest of your outfit with a jacket, for example.

Whilst these are not exactly items of shapewear, they do hold you in around the upper arms, so if you are conscious of your arms, Spanx arm tights are ideal.

Other big developments in the world of shapewear are the items we have seen from Wolford. Wolford are a fashion tights designer and a luxury tights designer primarily. However, they also have a list of items that help shape your figure too.

Wolford are one of the only designers out there that are introducing fashion into shapewear. Their new ranges for 2017 feature patterned tights that are contouring, as well as their classics like Miss W, a range that is stylish and ideal for formal events, but also sculpts your legs.

These new releases by Spanx, Wolford and others are the reason that shapewear is on the rise in terms of popularity, in particular their new appeal in the fashion world. All of this makes it more accessible to the wider community of legwear shoppers.