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Malala Day to call for education for all girls and women

A global day to call for the education of all girls and women is to be held in honour of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban, it has been announced.

Malala leaves the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in January. Credit: REUTERS/Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham/Handout

Her father Ziauddin and former prime minister Gordon Brown outlined plans for Malala Day as they appeared at the Women of the World Festival at London's Southbank Centre on International Women's Day.

Mr Brown said the issue of universal education for girls was in desperate need of a "liberation movement and a freedom fight for change".

Malala Day will be held on the girl's 16th birthday, July 12, and will be celebrated with a youth assembly at the United Nations in New York.It is hoped that young people from around the world will mark the day, aimed at providing education for the 32 million girls who do not currently have access.

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Delhi gang-rape victim awarded posthumous award

An Indian student who was gang-raped and murdered has been awarded the US State Department's International Women of Courage Award, a government statement said.

The case of the 23-year-old woman, dubbed "Nirbhaya" (Fearless) by the media, who was beaten, raped and tortured by six men on a bus in New Delhi in December, sparked a public outcry. She died of her injuries after being thrown out of the bus.

The award will be presented by Secretary of State John Kerry and First Lady Michelle Obama. The US State Department said:

"Known to India and the world as 'Nirbhaya', the courageous 23-year-old physiotherapy intern whose brutal gang rape on a moving bus in Delhi in December inspired widespread protests, has become the foundation of a popular movement to end violence against women in India."

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International Women's Day celebrated

Venezuelan soldiers march during a military parade to commemorate the failed coup against Chavez, in Feb 2012 Credit: Reuters/ Jorge Silva

International Women's Day will be celebrated in different ways across some parts of the world today.

The day is an official holiday in dozens of countries, including Afghanistan, China, Vietnam and Zambia.

Yvette Cooper praises new stalking laws

Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has welcomed the government's move to make stalking a crime.

Cooper said the move should help the criminal justice system crack down on the offence.

Yvette Cooper says Labour proposed reforms over stalking. Credit: Press Association

She said: "We campaigned hard for this new law against stalking and I am glad that the government accepted our reforms and listened to the victims who have been so determined and brave in speaking out after enduring terrible distress and abuse.

"Victims deserve swift justice and protection from the law - hopefully stalking becoming a criminal offence in its own right will help courts and the criminal justice system focus more quickly and effectively on stopping this crime."

Jeremy Browne: Stalking must not be trivialised

Crime prevention minister Jeremy Browne says the introduction of new legislation making stalking a criminal offence will stop the issue being "brushed under the carpet".

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said:

It is the sort of offence that people can sometimes brush under the carpet, not be aware of, it has been trivialised sometimes, I think, in the past as something which is just people, mainly women, being a bit bothered but nothing to worry about too much.

This is a very serious problem which affects thousands of thousands of mainly women, not exclusively women, but mainly women, right across the country.

Equalities Minister: Stalking victims 'better protected'

Victims and Equalities Minister Helen Grant said creating new stalking offences will ensure "victims of this heinous crime are better protected and will bring more offenders to justice".

Ms Grant said:

The Government's ambition is nothing less than ending all forms of violence against women and girls.

But we must also ensure that if people's lives are affected by crime, the right kind of help or support is available.

For the first time we have made sure nearly £40 million of Central Government funding is in place for organisations that do so much to help victims, often with so little.

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