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Arab Female Mountaineer, Suzanne Al Houby, To Take On Pakistani Peaks

New Age Islam News Bureau

20 Sept 2015

Twenty Afghan female football players participating in HLCTP


 Arab Female Mountaineer, Suzanne Al Houby, To Take On Pakistani Peaks

 Twenty Afghan Female Football Players Participating In HLCTP in Japan

 Breastfeeding Mps Cause A Stir, But With More Women Running Than Ever In Canada, It Should Be The New Norm

 Meet Pakistan's First Female Truck Driver, Shamim Akhtar

 Kim Regime Expands Secret Prison Camp for Women Forcibly Returned From China

 Sarah Palin Lashes Out At Muslim Schoolboy over Homemade Clock

 I Should Be In India, Says Pakistani Model Saimaa Azhar

 300,000 Children Face Uneducated Future Because Of Daesh in Nangarhar


Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Arab Female Mountaineer, Suzanne Al Houby, to Take on Pakistani Peaks

By Sunehra Mehmood: September 20, 2015

The first Arab woman to scale Mount Everest, Suzanne Al Houby, has now set her heart on conquering the mountains of Pakistan.

“I have been to Pakistan twice now. I was invited by Muhammad Azfar Ahsan who runs Nutshell Forums to speak at leadership conferences. I was skeptic first but talking to him gave me confidence that I will be in good and safe hands. So I accepted, and I am so glad I did,” Al Houby said, while speaking to The Express Tribune.

Being the first Arab woman to climb Mount Everest is not the only feather in her cap, Al Houby is also the first Arab woman to climb Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc, Elbrus, Toubkal, Aconcagua and Vinson. Although she has travelled to more than 100 destinations, her thirst to explore has not quenched yet.

Responding to a question about her impression of Pakistan, she said, “I went to Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. I have also visited Murree and did some trekking there just to have a feel and also have a view point to the expanse of the great Himalayas… the views were captivating and absolutely gorgeous. Add this to the warmth of the culture… then I was really all for a plan to go back to climb.”

The mountaineer, who hails from Palestine, was all praise for the people of Pakistan. “People are really warm, kind, extremely hospitable and welcoming all the time. They really go out of their way to make you feel welcomed! Great culture, great food and gorgeous landscape!” she added.

On her next visit to Pakistan, Al Houby, who is also the founder and CEO of Rahhalah Explorers, an adventure tourism outfitter, is planning to raise money to help terminally ill children in Pakistan. While in the country, she had attended a ceremony held by the Make A Wish Foundation where some of the wishes of the children were granted.

“Ishtiaq Baig is running the Make a Wish Foundation and he is the one who invited me, briefed me and informed me of the needs of the foundation. We have granted 12 kids their wishes. These kids are terminally ill and the generous acts of people supporting will touch their souls forever …way after they leave us.”

Al Houby, who firmly believes in giving back to the community, was touched by the plight of the children. “Some kids asked for a toy, others for Umrah or a TV … regardless what they asked for, to be able to bring joy to them is priceless. What hit me as well is that these kids do not have access to proper paediatric cancer facilities and treatments which was really heart breaking. Should these kids be somewhere else, they may have had a chance at some treatment that can maybe help them,” she added.

Talking about how she fell in love with the sport of mountain climbing, she said, “I have been always an outdoor person and into sports. I was once in a safari in Africa and once I saw my first big mountain… I was mesmerised and decided right there that I want to climb mountains! The more I climbed that more passionate I was about the whole process, journey and summits!”



Twenty Afghan Female Football Players Participating In HLCTP in Japan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Sep 20 2015, 2:16 pm

CPATcVzVEAQ-yXETwenty Afghan female football players have been sent to Hiroshima city of Japan to participate in the Hiroshima Leadership and Communication Training Program.

The women belonging to the Afghanistan Women’s Football team left Afghanistan on September 14 and scheduled to return to Kabul on September 22.

The program is being sponsored by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

However, Promote’s Women’s Leadership Development program sponsors five of the 20 women during this trip.

The program involves cultural introductions to Hiroshima, press events, and development of leadership, team and communications skills.

“These programs are what we need in our society to help women in every way, and especially in sports and education,” said Hajar Abulfazil, a member of the Afghanistan women’s national football team.

“I see these programs building the future of Afghanistan. Soon I hope we will have a lot of women leaders in every office and government association.”

The athletes will act as Promote ambassadors and mentors to current leadership participants. They will share their trainings with other young women to further inspire their own leadership and development.

Promote is the largest women’s leadership program in the history of USAID and will provide 75,000 young, educated women the opportunity to acquire the skills they need to advance in Afghan society.

Promote’s leadership component is one of five Promote programs. Its mission is to provide 18,000 high-achieving, young educated women with sophisticated, cutting-edge leadership skills.



Breastfeeding MPs Cause a Stir, but With More Women Running Than Ever In Canada, It Should Be The New Norm

Ashley Csanady | September 19, 2015

Australian parliament has been told to update its “archaic conventions” after a female MP was told last week to express more breast milk to avoid missing important votes.

Kelly O’Dwyer is considered a “rising star” of the governing Liberal party down under, but she sparked a debate about how well female politicians are accommodated in the Westminster parliamentary tradition after a row about missing a vote to breastfeed her daughter. The whips of the parties have since worked out a solution where if O’Dwyer must miss a vote, she can have a proxy on the floor.

But it’s far from the first time or the last time young mothers in politics have made headlines. An Argentinian parliamentarian, Victoria Donda Perez, sparked an international conversation after she breastfed on the floor of her legislature.

In Canada, former NDP MP Sania Hassainia caused a stir when she carried her baby onto the floor of the House of Commons for an important vote on the long-gun registry. After first being ejected she was later welcomed back, and set a precedent welcomed in many corners: newborns in arms are perfectly welcome on the green carpet. Hassainia later said she didn’t plan to do it again, but with more women than ever set to run in the federal election — over a third of all candidates thus far, though nominations aren’t closed until Sept. 28 — it’s an important discussion to have.

Political parental accommodation is not just about women but the younger men as well, as more and more parties are running candidates in their 20s and 30s. Since there are no parental leave benefits for MPs — or MPPs and MLAs in many provincial legislatures — allowing them to literally balance work and baby at the same time is crucial.

In Ontario, Laurel Broten, then a Cabinet minister in Dalton McGuinty’s government, gave birth to twins and was back in the office just weeks later. And though this was around the same time Queen’s Park amended its standing orders to reduce the number of night sittings and end them on Fridays to create a more family friendly environment, Broten still faced criticism as to whether she could balance two newborns and her portfolio. She did, though, and eventually become McGuinty’s education minister.

It wasn’t always this common to see young moms in politics.

In 1987, Sheila Copps became the first sitting MP to give birth. Less than two weeks later, Ronald Reagan arrived in town for a speech she wanted to attend, and so she pumped some breast milk and headed to the hill. It was over an hour by the time both Reagan’s and then-prime minister Brian Mulroney’s speech wrapped up. While waiting in the lobby of centre block afterwards, a colleague pointed out “a stain the size of a handprint” on the front of her silk blouse, and Copps had to dip out to change.

But those more light-hearted moments and her colleagues’ many congratulations were occasionally tinged with sexism, though Copps said it was less about being a new mom and more about “the whole idea of being a woman in politics…breaking into unknown territory, especially at that time.”

Things started changing for the better, and she found she was able to nudge some if it along. The first female speaker started a daycare on the hill, so once Copps’ daughter was potty trained, she could drop her off on the way to work. But that also made the MP and later the Cabinet minister aware of how could she had it, especially for the time.

Former Heritage Minister Sheila Copps in her office on Parliament Hill.

“When you’re an MP and especially as a minister, you’re in a much better position to make the rules, so it’s much better for you than it is for a woman working in a hotel,” or for women in other kinds of shift work, Copps said. Ottawa loves morning meetings, but 7:30 a.m. breakfasts don’t work when you have kids to get ready too, so as a minister she barred them: “I tried to make the hours more in line with being a parent as well.

“Because I was the boss, it made it easier to create the work environment that supported families, and I think that’s where MPs had it way (better than) the ordinary population.”

She brought her daughter to committee meetings and to her office. She would breastfeed openly, which as is still the case today, may have caused some chatter. Copps said she’s had other women tell her that because she blazed that trail they too felt comfortable enough to feed at work. But she also said it’s possible to get into a routine of pumping milk and feedings, so you don’t have to choose formula to bottle-feed when necessary. Above all, she said, young working moms need to cut themselves a break.

“I think people who run for politics tend to be high energy achievers… I think sometimes as women we tend to be fairly hard on ourselves. We want to be perfect. And I think you’ve got to give a bit: you can have a messy house and you don’t have to bake cookies,” Copps said. She used to try every Christmas to do the traditional thing and pound out some cookies, but was so out of practice her daughter would say “your cookies are like lead, stop making them.”

So her words of wisdom for young parents on the Hill of either gender? “Buy your cookies.”



Meet Pakistan's First Female Truck Driver, Shamim Akhtar

By Web Desk: September 19, 2015

Breaking stereotypes and driving through gender-based obstacles, Shamim Akhtar from Rawalpindi is Pakistan’s first female truck driver.

The 53-year-old single mother said “Nothing is too difficult if you have the will, however if women make themselves believe that they can’t do certain tasks then nothing works for them.”

Driving cars for many years, Akhtar decided to step out of Pakistan’s traditional domestic rule which requires women to stay home, when she saw her family going through financial hardship.

Therefore, in order to support two children at home and to cover the cost of her three eldest daughters’ weddings, Akhtar set off to take driving lessons for heavy vehicles.

“My son tells me not to drive too far, it’s dangerous but I told him that we have to earn a living. We only eat when we earn,” Akhtar said as she prepared herself to transport a load of 7000 bricks from a factory in Rawalpindi to Azad Jammu and Kashmir, a gruelling 200 kilometres trip.

An inspiration for many, she was issued a public service vehicle license, a first for a Pakistani woman- allowing her to pull trailers, drive trucks and tractors.

“Whatever I am today, it is because of the Islamabad Traffic Police training course,” Akhtar said humbly.

Further, while most Pakistani male drivers lack formal driving lessons for heavy vehicles, Akhtar seems to have an edge over the men which she uses to teach a novice.

And among many of her colleagues, her student Usman Ali too, has a lot of respect for Akhtar.

“She behaves well, and treats us like her sons. We too treat her as a mother and that is how our relationship is,” one of Akhtar’s colleagues said for her.

However, despite the love and respect from all her co-workers, Akhtar still faces discrimination in Pakistan. Regardless of passing the driving test for Islamabad’s new bus line, she was told there would be no jobs for women.

When that too, did not seem to break her down, she gave a message to her fellow Pakistani women, “Women, try to do something all the time, don’t make yourselves lazy or believe that you are weak and can’t achieve such milestones. We can do everything. We are capable enough, by the grace of God.”

Further, Akhtar hopes her drive and determination will inspire other Pakistani women to follow her down the road to equality.



Kim Regime Expands Secret Prison Camp for Women Forcibly Returned From China

By George Russell September 19, 2015

The communist regime in North Korea has been expanding space for women in its notorious prison labour camps to accommodate the number of Koreans forcibly returned from China, where they had sought the economic means to survive.

The atrocities that await inmates in the North Korean gulag include forced labor, savage beatings, starvation, episodic executions and other crimes against humanity, according to a new report by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (CHRNK), a Washington-based non-profit group.

The most recent changes in North Korea’s remote and extensive secret prison network is documented in The Hidden Gulag IV, an update of the Committee’s decade-long examination of the North Korean system, published on Friday. The report is buttressed by a separate analysis of satellite photographs and  based on interviews with inmates who endured stays in the horrific system and subsequently escaped to South Korea after their release.

The Kim regime steadfastly denies the existence of any and all of the camps.

The Committee report is an attempt to document changes in North Korea’s gruesome prison landscape since early last year, when a U.N. appointed commission issued its own report on North Korean widespread and savage repression of its own citizenry, and the U.N. Security Council for the first time debated whether to refer the Kim regime’s human rights atrocities to the International Criminal Court as crimes against humanity. (The Security Council discussion is ongoing.)

 “What we are trying to do is track changes in the prison camp system since then,” David Hawk, author of the CHRNK report, told Fox News. The effort, however, is slow, difficult and almost always lagging behind events, as it can take “two, three or four years” for camp survivors to successfully escape to South Korea after enduring their horrifying experiences.

The CHRNK report focuses specifically on changes at a labour camp in a mountainous region of North Korea’s coastal North Hamgyong province, and at a notorious political prison in neighbouring South Hamgyong that is often used for political purge victims from the capital of Pyongyang, and where one section, known as a “re-revolutionizing zone,” was recently demolished—a sign that its inmates have been relocated or otherwise disappeared.

Among other things, the 1,000-women expansion of space at a formerly all-male labour camp likely means that other prisons for women “are overflowing with the arrival of larger numbers of North Korean women forcibly repatriated from China,” Hawk said.

The women are imprisoned for the “crime” of leaving North Korea in the first place, Hawk said, and their return by Chinese authorities is itself considered by the Committee to be a contravention of international humanitarian law, as the women face certain punishment for something normally considered a human right in leaving North Korea in the first place.

The prison expansion is also a sign of the ugly choices facing North Korean women in general. In the past they fled to China largely to escape outright starvation at home, Hawk said.  Now some also leave for the less desperate reason of pursuing marginal economic opportunities. Once in China, they are often picked up randomly by police, and detained until “a bus-load” can be driven back to North Korea.

Once back, they are “interrogated, often brutally,” Hawk said. If police decide they have committed no “political offense”—which can include any contact with South Koreans, or with any Christian churches—they are sentenced to anywhere between six months and three years of hard labour and placed in the labour camp system.

That fact alone can be a life-saver, as the families of inmates in the “normal” labor camp system are actually informed of the existence and location of their loved ones, meaning that they can receive additional food supplies when possible—though often it is not.

 More importantly, they can eventually be released to their families. In fact, the Committee’s report grimly notes, “many prisoners are released before their sentences are complete, often because of severe malnutrition, so that the prison authorities do not have to dispose of so many dead bodies.”

Others might be released to celebrate such festivities as a Kim family member's birthday or the founding of the Korean Worker’s Party—but more likely, the report notes, to relieve rampant prison overcrowding.

Among the rest, one survivor interviewed for the report relates, “many died of malnutrition and related diseases.”

At the North Hamgyong camp, female prisoners ate starvation-level rations while cutting trees, hauling logs, tending farm animals and, bizarrely, filling orders from Pyongyang for wigs and false eyelashes, using hair that one prisoner thought came from China.

“When they had a ‘production order,’ the wig-sewers would work non-stop day and night until the order was completed,” the report notes.  Only the most productive workers were allowed to rest between “production orders.” The rest were sent back, unrested, to heavier tasks.

One former prisoner interviewed for the Committee report helped raise corn by creating fertilizer from human waste mixed with dirt. She ate soup made from corn stocks and beans, and left prison, near death, weighing about 60 lbs.—less than half her arrival weight.

On the other hand, the fact that the Kim regime has been reducing the size of its even more draconian political prisons is not necessarily better news, but possibly worse—and in any case completely unknown.

Detainees in North Korean political prisons are literally non-persons. Their arrest and detention is almost never discussed, and most never leave the prisons once they enter—and even if they do, the fact is marked by silence.

In the case of the South Hamyong prison, however, the section that was demolished in late 2014 was identified by survivors as a “re-revolutionizing zone,” meaning that inmates could eventually return-- if judged to have endured their beatings and hard labor stoically enough-- to North Korean society.

Along with ordinary North Koreans who had run afoul of the regime, it was the most common catch-pool for bureaucrats, army officials and other regime loyalists who had been caught in the regime’s murky internecine squabbles, rivalries and vendettas, and thus stood some chance of being recycled in the next twist of any factional power struggles.

The Committee’s report offers a rare but highly limited insight into the prison section’s population through the recollections of Jung Gwang-il, a North Korean who was sent to the camp in 2002-2003 on suspicion of spying for South Korea while exporting high-quality mushrooms. He was tortured, starved and beaten until he confessed, then released after 10 months.

As it happened, Jung had a photographic memory, and the Committee report includes a list of 181 political prisoners who Jung itemized after his release. In a handful of  cases, they are known to have returned to regime jobs. Some died of malnutrition. The majority are simply marked as “unknown.”

As the Committee’s satellite analysis notes,  however, the “razing of buildings, or even of an entire section of the camp, does not necessarily mean that the camp has ceased to function as a detention facility.”

Overall, the analysis  notes, “up to 120,000 political prisoners detained in North Korea’s ‘hidden gulag’ continue to be subjected to induced malnutrition, forced labour, torture and extra-judicial killings.”

As a result, it adds, “scores of thousands” have died in the camps over the years.

 If anything, the analysis notes, “the North Korean regime appears to be stepping up its efforts to conceal the ‘heart of darkness’ of its oppressive system, its political prison camps, from international scrutiny made possible by satellite imagery analysis.”

That sensitivity may be heightened by the fact that, as report author Hawk told Fox News, dictator Kim Jong-un, who took power in late 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, has been purging the ranks of the Worker’s Party, government bureaucracy and armed forces at a greatly increased rate.

His father’s top loyalists have been among the main victims—including Kim’s uncle by marriage, Jang Sung Taek.

Despite small measures of economic reform, Hawk says, the regime’s behaviour “is as bad as ever. It’s still the same old system except more purges.”



Sarah Palin Lashes Out At Muslim Schoolboy over Homemade Clock

By Web Desk: September 20, 2015

Known for her controversial statements, US politician Sarah Palin lashed out at US President Barack Obama for supporting a Muslim schoolboy who was arrested and dragged out in handcuffs for bringing a homemade clock to class.

Palin took to Facebook to voice her displeasure at the president’s decision to invite the teenager to the White House and also condemned the “reactionary-slash-biased media” for siding with the boy and defending his “dangerous wired-up bomb-looking contraption.”

“Yep, believing that’s a clock in a school pencil box is like believing Barack Obama is ruling over the most transparent administration in history. Right. That’s a clock, and I’m the Queen of England,” Palin wrote in a Facebook post in which she shared pictures of her kids’ pencil boxes.

In her post, the former Alaska governor also mentioned her daughter, Bristol, who had criticised Obama for promoting racial tension by inviting the teenager to the White House and cited examples of other students who had also been suspended from school for innocent deeds.

“Friends, consider the kids disciplined and/or kicked out of school for bringing squirt guns to school or taking bites out of a pop tart until it resembled (to some politically correct yahoo) a gun. Or the student out deer hunting with his dad early one morning who forgot he had a box of ammo in his truck when he parked in the school’s lot later that day,” she wrote.

“Whereas Ahmed Muhammad, an evidently obstinate-answering student bringing in a homemade ‘clock’ that obviously could be seen by conscientious teachers as a dangerous wired-up bomb-looking contraption (teachers who are told “if you see something, say something!”) gets invited to the White House,” she added.

Palin also took Obama to task for “jumping in cases prematurely to interject himself as the cool savior” and said that his practice of attaching himself to the “issue-of-the-day, got old years ago.”

“Remember him accusing police officers doing their job as ‘acting stupid’; claiming if he had a son, he’d look like Trayvon Martin; claiming he needed to know who was a fault in an industrial accident so he’d ‘know who’s a** to kick’; etc, etc. Those actions are about as presidential as his selfie stick,” she added.

Palin’s daughter had accused Obama of egging racial tension and according to her, “This is the kind of stuff Obama needs to stay out of.”

“This encourages more racial strife that is already going on with the “Black Lives Matter” crowd and encourages victimhood. The police made a mistake, clearly. But why put more people against them? Why egg it on? Childish games like this from our president have divided our country… even more today than when he was elected,” she added.

Palin’s opinion is shared by only a minority of Americans as people from the US and around the globe took to social media in support of Ahmed Mohamed. The local community also staged a prayer vigil outside the school where he was arrested.

Ahmed has received invitations not only from the president but also from Google, Facebook, Space Camp, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Out of all the high-profile names reaching out to him in support, Ahmed confessed he was most excited to hear from MIT as he dreamed of going there.

Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, also joined the ranks of all those supporting Ahmed and hailed him as a ‘modern-day hero’ whose talent will ‘blossom’ regardless of where he goes to school.

Wozniak said the Muslim teenager’s story reminded him of his own story when he had deliberately built a bomb-like device to prank his teacher. That prank had ended with him in juvenile detention where, far from being chastised, the young Wozniak had taught his fellow detainees “how they could remove the electric wires from an overhead fan and attach them to the metal bars [to] shock the guards.”

“Even if he got into no school, his talent would blossom. I hope they don’t kick it out of him. He is a modern day hero to ones like myself,” he added.

Ahmed confirmed to Good Morning America that he had accepted Obama’s invitation, saying, “I hope to see him soon.” However, he revealed that his clock was still in police custody.

‘The clock is still in custody with the police,’ he said. ‘I want it back with my humility.’



I Should Be In India, Says Pakistani Model Saimaa Azhar

By Entertainment Desk: September 19, 2015

Saimaa Azhar has gained popularity in the fashion world. She recently walked the ramp at Shaan-e-Pakistan in New Delhi and after having spent only a week in the Indian capital she feels she should be living there, not in Pakistan.

“I feel main wahan [Pakistan] galti se drop ho gayi hoon, I should be in India. My mother is originally from Lucknow and my father is from Hardoi in UP. So, my family roots are in Uttar Pardesh,” Saimaa said in an interview with Times of India.

“After my father migrated to Pakistan, I was born and brought up there. This is the first time I am visiting India and I totally love it,” she added.

In the interview, Saimaa spoke her heart out about modelling, starting an acting career soon and even apologised to India on behalf of Veena Malik.

I will be returning [to India] soon to train formally in acting. Good actors from Pakistan like Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan are working here now and doing some good work. I don’t want to talk about girls like Veena Malik. I should be saying sorry to India on behalf of these girls. What she did was not appreciable,” she said.

Saimaa was in India for only a week but that didn’t keep her from exploring Delhi: ”I spent most of my time here shopping. I went to Chandni Chowk and bought some chanderi silk with Zardozi and Zari work and some beautiful saris as well. I was told by people here that Lajpat Nagar is a must-visit if you love shopping. So, one evening was spent at Lajpat Nagar buying jewellery.”

Having had a good amount of experience in the fashion industry, she corrected all misconceptions people might hold about the Pakistani fashion industry.

“People think that we only design traditional and bridal outfits, but that is just one part of our fashion. Our designers have been experimenting with various drapes and cuts. Even our Burqas now have had a modern makeover, despite not too many women wearing them anymore,” she said.

While she has never donned a Burqa, she explains how even in the international market the concept of wearing a plain, black Burqa has evolved.

“I have never worn one, but now Burqas come in all colours and are tailored like gowns, as per body type. Some young designers make Burqas with embroidery. In countries like Canada, velvet Burqas are in demand. The starting price for designer Burqas is about Rs10,000, and it can go higher depending on the fabric used and the embroidery,” she added.



300,000 Children Face Uneducated Future Because Of Daesh In Nangarhar

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Sep 20 2015300,000 children have been facing uneducated future because of Daesh in eastern Nangarhar province.

According to the information provided by the directorate of education Directorate in Nangarhar, 58 schools have either been closed by Daesh or shut down because of the security threat from this group.

Mohammad Asif, spokesman for the directorate of education said the closure has caused 300,000 children out of school.

He said the education department is trying to reopen these schools through negotiations with security forces, local administration and community elders.

The barbarism of Daesh has made people frustrated in Nangarhar.

Few days before, dozens of residents of Achin District arrived in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital of Nangarhar, and criticized government for not taking strict actions against the group.

They said that without any reason Daesh terrorists capture people and kill them.

A teen aged boy whose eyes were full of tears said that Daesh killed his father for no reason.

An old lady, who wanted to tell media about Daesh’s brutality she had seen, fell unconscious without saying anything.

Reports suggest that the group has killed at least 600 civilians in Nangarhar, most of them in Achin District, in the past few months.

The group has also started recruiting child soldiers.