21 February 2021
All applicants must have a clean record and be medically fit for service. (Supplied)
• Saudi Arabia opens military recruitment to women
• For this Palestinian family, living next to Al-Aqsa Mosque comes with a heavy price
• East Africa: The status of women remains unequal at all levels of society
• Turkish Women’s Cup: Super Falcons battle Uzbekistan for top spot
• Smuggled diary tells how abducted women survived Boko Haram camp
• Woman who twice broke into Stoke-on-Trent mosque causing £14k damage is jailed
• Princess Eugenie and husband share name of new baby son
• Four women dupe Indian man with fake message; rob him of Rs 55 lakh in Dubai
• Women’s World Heart Day 2021
• Top-ranked UConn Women Win In 1st Visit To Xavier 83-32
• Fontanive and Hasler share spoils at final Women's Monobob World Series
• Women disguised themselves as old ladies in bid to cheat Covid vaccine waitlist
• INTERVIEW: Female Saudi driver feels right at home at Diriyah E-Prix
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Saudi Arabia opens military recruitment to women
February 21, 2021
JEDDAH: Women can now join Saudi Arabia's armed forces, following a ruling by the Saudi Ministry of Defense that opened the way for both genders to sign up through a unified admission portal starting Sunday.
Military ranks from soldier to sergeant will be available in the Saudi Arabian Army, Royal Saudi Air Defense, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force, and Armed Forces Medical Services.
All applicants must pass admission procedures according to specified conditions, have a clean record and be medically fit for service. But some additional criteria have been added for female applicants.
Saudi female applicants must be between the age of 21 and 40 years old, have a height of 155 cm or taller, and cannot be a government employee. Female submissions must also hold an independent national identity card and have at least a high school education. Applicants married to non-Saudi citizens will not be accepted.
The age range for first-time male applicants is between 17 and 40 while their minimum height is 160 cm. There were mixed reactions to the ministry’s new unified recruitment standards.
Operating systems specialist, Halah Al-Ynabawi, said Arab countries allowing women in the military has been a controversial topic over the past 30 years.
“But today, with the vision of King Salman, he has played a big role with the inclusion of women in all fields — governmental and now military,” she told Arab News.
“In my personal opinion, it is very important for women to be in the military, where they can have an active role in our conservative society.” Rahma Al-Khayri, an information technology specialist, shared a different point of view.
“Throughout history, we have not heard of a woman who came to the field and fought,” she said. “We always hear about women healing people, or perhaps monitoring supplies in the administration and in the control units. The man is the one who fights in the field.”
For this Palestinian family, living next to Al-Aqsa Mosque comes with a heavy price
By Aseel Jundi
20 February 2021
Mohammed Bashiti drives his car through al-Wad Street in the Old City of Jerusalem with extreme caution. At the sign of Bab al-Majlis, he turns left towards his house and parks the car.
Together with his wife and daughter, Bashiti walks in the direction of the Israeli police post stationed right at the entrance of Al-Aqsa Gate, and enters their house, standing just a metre away from Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Their three other children - Hisham, Hatim and Abdul-Rahman - have spent most of their time in Israeli prisons, interrogationcentres, or under detention and house arrest.
To understand the reasons behind the continuous Israeli harassment of the family, one needs only to enter the house, with its windows and front yard overlooking Al-Aqsa.
Since the 1980s, the Bashiti family has been receiving tempting offers from Israelis to leave their home, prospective buyers who covet its extraordinary view.
But as the family held on to the property, refusing to sell, Israeli authorities have sought to pressure them by putting them through one crisis after another, to the point where they say all their days are spent putting out fires.
Seventeen-year-old Hatim, meanwhile, has been the luckiest among his brothers as he was able to rejoin school this year and prepare for his General Certificate Exam.
However, recurrent harassment, including arrests, still poses a threat to his education and might quell his mother's dream of seeing her sons wearing their graduation uniforms.
The third son, Abdul-Rahman, a 16-year-old boy who has suffered from diabetes since he was four years old, has recently been forcibly removed from his house in Jerusalem under unclear charges and is currently under compulsory house arrest in Shuafat town, north of Jerusalem.
The Israeli secret service has demanded that his parents stay with him around the clock. If they have to go to the old city, his grandmother stays with him until they return.
He said the primary cause behind this whole ordeal is the strategic location of the house with its view of the mosque, in addition to the family's refusal to consider the temptations being offered to them to vacate the property.
In 2004, he sued the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs, demanding they return the properties they have confiscated, one of which was turned into a synagogue.
Mohammed said restoration work on the synagogue has been stopped by a court order because with regard to this particular property, as shown in the Israeli Property Registry, it is actually registered under the name of the Bashiti family.
However, due to the high expenses of the case and the immense pressures facing the family in the absence of any official Palestinian support, the Bashitis had no choice but to refrain from pursuing the case any further.
In the aftermath of the court case, Israeli occupation authorities increased their pressure on Mohammed and started raiding his Jerusalem home more frequently.
"The Israeli occupation authorities seek to break them because they perform their prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque regularly and maintain a good social rapport with the population of the Old City, something that the occupation does not like."
The Bashiti boys had stood up in support of protesters who held sit-ins at the Al-Nather gate, providing them with blankets, food and water. They would also police and clean the area before the following day's sit-in.
Mohammed works as a helper to an elderly man, but a few months ago he also assumed Hisham's position as a security guard in order to provide him with a salary while he is in prison. The father's debts are increasing day by day.
With each new arrest or separation, he has to pay fines, bail money and legal fees, in addition to a myriad other expenses that have overburdened him.
Mohammed is preoccupied with how he is going to cope with the financial obligations he has to cover and is constantly looking for new guarantors every time he seeks funding.
For years now, he has been spending most of his time in courts and interrogation centres, under detention and in banks to seek loans to help him face the costs of his sons' arrests.
"I have a cupboard loaded with documents related to the arrests of my three sons, showcasing court deliberations, arrest orders, house inspections, fines and fees," he said.
"But if anything, this only adds to my determination and resolve to firmly hold on to this house adjoining one of the holiest spots in the world."
She listened carefully to what he was saying as she played with one of her toys before they had to go back to Shuafat in order to comply with their compulsory residence with Abdul-Rahman.
Since her early childhood, Baylasan has witnessed the Israeli harassment against her family, including her father's imprisonment and the constant arrests of her brothers, which never seem to end.
"It was only recently that I began accepting the call for prayer by the muezzin of Al-Aqsa Mosque because for years I correlated his voice with the timing of the army attacking our house and arresting one of my brothers," Baylasan told MEE.
"Every time I buy new clothes to put on for a family picnic or an outing somewhere it does not take place. I now buy new clothes to wear when I go to visit my brother Hisham in prison since prison has become the only destination I go to."
Baylasan spoke of her own experience with Israeli military and secret service forces, who one day raided the house while she was alone and searched the place as she repeatedly told them that she was by herself and there was no one available for arrest.
"The pounding on the door was extremely frightening, and I had to open it. I tried to control myself at the beginning, but when my mother came in I lost control and started hysterically crying," she said.
"I wish I could live a peaceful life just like normal children anywhere in the world, because attacking and searching our house and arresting my brothers frightens me and disturbs my education journey."
Abdul-Rahmam was arrested at dawn on 4 January while he, his brother Hatim and two of their friends were eating on the roof of the house.
She then rushed outside to find the four youths on the ground and shackled, with Abdul-Rahman calling on her to provide him with water and his diabetes kit.
'It was only recently that I began accepting the call for prayer by the muezzin of Al-Aqsa Mosque because for years I correlated his voice with the timing of the army attacking our house'
His parents came to know later from the physician in charge that he had arrived from the interrogation centre in west Jerusalem in a very critical situation that could have led to a loss of his vision, a coma, or even death.
Their son stayed in solitary confinement for 20 days before he was released and put under house arrest, where he could be subpoenaed for interrogation at any time.
Although Binar is extremely worried about the deteriorating condition of Abdul-Rahman, she is more worried about her eldest, Hisham, who has been in detention at the Majedo prison for the past four months.
Hisham was arrested in Isawiya by the Mustaribeen, an elite Israeli undercover unit who pose as Palestinians. He was severely beaten and consequently hospitalised for three days before being moved to an interrogation cell, where he stayed for 45 days.
When she visited him for the first time, Hisham told his mother: "I saw nothing during the arrest. I only heard the car doors of the Mustaribeen open and the cocking of weapons that were ready to fire.
Binar said all that she hopes for is to lead a stable life with all her family members under one roof, and for Israeli authorities to stop coming after her children at the sign of the slightest unrest, even when they happen to be away from the Old City during such times.
Muhammad Mahmoud, the lawyer who represents the Bashiti boys, also believes that the reason behind the targeting of this family is the strategic location of their house.
The Israeli authorities are trying to push the father to the point of despair with the aim of forcing him to negotiate leaving his home, he said.
"A hearing session for Abdul-Rahman was attended by a representative from the secret service in Jerusalem, the legal adviser of the Shabak [Israel's internal security service] and the representative in charge of room number four of the interrogation centre," Mahmoud said.
"To me this was a stark and ridiculous situation: all these high-ranking officials have come to face a child in order to request extending his detention."
During his career, the lawyer has noticed that Israeli interrogators avoid sending young detainees to solitary confinement except in what they consider extreme cases, such as alleged stabbing attempts.
For Mahmoud, this fact makes the detention of Abdul-Rahman in solitary confinement for such a long time a real dilemma and a violation of both Israeli and international law.
A number of Palestinian organisations, including the Palestinian Prisoners Club, the Commission of Detainees' Affairs, the Prisoner Support And Human Rights Association, and the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, issued a joint report stating that, during 2020, occupation authorities arrested 4,634 Palestinians, among whom 543 were underage and 128 women.
East Africa: The status of women remains unequal at all levels of society
By Kester Kenn Klomegah
February 20, 2021
For over two decades, the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) has been fighting for gender equality, empowerment of women and improvement of women’s rights in Kenya and broadly in East Africa. Established in 1999, CREAW has used bold, innovative and holistic interventions for the realization of women’s rights. Most of its programs have focused on challenging practices that undermine equity, equality and constitutionalism, promoting women’s participation in decision making and deepening the ideology and philosophy of women’s empowerment.
In this interview, Mercy Jelimo, an Executive Program Officer at the Nairobi-based Center for Rights, Education and Awareness (CREAW) discusses the current situation about gender issues, landmarked achievements, existing challenges and the way forward. Here are the interview excerpts:
In your estimation and from your research, how is the situation with gender inequality, specifically in Kenya, and generally in East Africa?
MJ: This survey was commissioned by our partners Women Deliver and Focus 2030 with over 17,000 respondents covering 17 countries on six continents. The survey findings indicated that over 60% of respondents believed that Gender Equality had progressed. However, on average 57% of respondents also felt that the fight for gender equality is not over particularly because we see key aspects of gender inequality persist including: unequal distribution of unpaid care, domestic work and parental responsibilities between men and women (the COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the burden women bear as caregivers) different employment opportunities with religion and culture continuing to entrench discrimination against women.
Whereas in East Africa, the survey only covered Kenya, the results are shared across. In particular, the Kenyan respondents indicated that there has been notable progress in regards to Gender equality particularly when it comes to the legal and policy frameworks to guard against discrimination on whichever basis be it sex, religion, class or race.
Over the last quarter century, the country has promulgated a new Constitution and a raft of subsidiary legislations and policies that are critical to Gender equality. Some of these laws include but not limited to: the Sexual Offences Act 2006, the Children’s Act 2001, the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2011, the Marriage Act 2014, the Protection Against Domestic Violence Act 2015, the Victim Protection Act 2014, the Witness Protection Act 2008, the National Policy for Prevention and Response to Gender-Based Violence 2014, the National Guidelines on the Management of Sexual Violence 2015, the Multi-sector Standard Operating Procedures for Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence, and the National Policy on the Eradication of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) 2019.
Kenya has also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, among other instruments. However, even with this robust legal framework, accountability and the implementation of these laws have lagged behind.
The status of women and girls as compared to men and boys still remains unequal at all levels of society both public and private. This imbalance manifests itself as normalized negative social norms and ‘cultural’ practices with brutal violations against women and girls continuing to be perpetrated, women being excluded from leadership and decision making positions, limited in their political participation and women and girls being denied access to economic opportunities.
Undeniably, women and girls continue to be victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) including rape, domestic violence, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. In fact, as of March 2020, according to statistics from Kenya’s Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC), 45% of women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 have experienced either physical or sexual violence with women with girls accounting for 90% of gender-based violence (SGBV) cases reported. Harmful practices such as FGM and child marriage are still prevalent, with the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (2014) reporting a national FGM prevalence rate of 21% for women and girls aged 15-49 years of age. The prevalence rate differs from one practicing community to the other, with communities such Somali (96%) Samburu (86%) and The Maasai (78%) having significantly higher prevalence.
Sadly, this is the story across all the other countries in East Africa where we have progressive legal and Policy framework but with zero accountability mechanisms. It is worth noting that in 2018, the East Africa Community Council of Ministers approved the EAC Gender policy which is key to ensuring that gender equality and empowerment of women are not only integrated into every aspect of its work but provides an outline of key priority areas for partner states. The EAC has also instituted other gender mainstreaming efforts including the EAC Social Development framework (2013), the EAC child policy (2016) the EAC Youth policy (2013), a Gender Mainstreaming Strategy for EAC Organs and Institutions, (2013) amongst others.
By the way, what are your research findings that you presented in report on Jan 28? Are there any similarities and differences about gender studies in other East Africa countries?
MJ: The key findings from Kenya can generally be used to paint a picture of the situation in the EAC region. Apparent Gender disparities in the region remain in a number of areas such as in political representation, access to education and training, access to quality and affordable healthcare, high unemployment rates of women, rampant sexual and gender-based violence, harmful cultural practices, inadequate financing for gender needs and programs.
Firstly, when asked about the status of Gender Equality, the majority of respondents identified Gender Equality as an important issue (96%) and that government should do more (invest) to promote gender equality.
Secondly, the role of religion and culture; how boys and girls are socialized and unequal representation were identified as obstacles to gender equality. This finding indicates the work that still remains to be done for Gender equality actors in Kenya and other partner states in the EAC. The most important step to achieving gender equality is dismantling systems and structures that promote and protect inequalities. whereas the country has made tremendous progress in having relevant legal and policy frameworks, there is still lack of implementation of these laws – this finding answers the why question– because institutions, people and structures are still very patriarchal. Furthermore, the lack of representation of women (also cited by Kenyan respondents as an obstacle) might explain the failures in implementation of the laws and policies.
Thirdly, the respondents identified corruption as the most important issue facing the country. This finding is also supported by the 2019 Global Corruption Barometer – Africa survey that showed that more than half of citizens in the continent think graft is getting worse and that governments were doing very little to curb the vice. The impact that corruption has on service delivery cannot be overemphasized especially on public goods such as healthcare, education, water and sanitation. More specifically, is the resulting lack of public financing to programs and interventions that address gender needs & promote gender equality.
A recent Corruption Perception Index (CPI) Report by Transparency International indicated that all the countries in East Africa with the exception of Rwanda scored below the global average rate of 43 out of 100. More importantly is that the report noted that countries that perform well on the CPI have strong enforcement of campaign finance regulations as this correlates with the dismal performance of women in politics who often than not do not have the requisite political funding to mount effective political campaigns and outcompete their male counterparts.
What would you say about discrimination or representation of women in politics in the region? Do you feel that women are not strongly encouraged in this political sphere?
MJ: There has been significant progress when it comes to women’s political representation and participation with a majority of the countries in the EAC region adopting constitutional quotas and other remedies to promote representation. All the countries in the East Africa Community have achieved the 30% critical mass with the exception of Kenya (21%) and South Sudan (28%). More women occupy ministerial portfolios that were perceived to be the preserve of men such as defense, foreign affairs, manufacturing, trade, public service and so forth. Not to miss that the leading country globally – Rwanda is from the region (63%).
However, most institutions including parliaments are still male dominated and women in the region still face a number of challenges including violence against women in politics, religious and cultural beliefs and norms that limit women role, lack of support from political parties, lack of campaign financing and unregulated campaign financing environment with the progressive legal and policy frameworks yet to be fully implemented. These challenges continue to limit the representation and participation of women in public and political sphere. The region is yet to have a woman as a president just to illustrate the glass ceilings that remain.
Tell us about how women are perceived (public opinion) in the society there? How is the state or government committed to change this situation, most probably by enacting policies?
MJ: “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I ‘ll tell you what you value” This quote by President Joe Biden aptly captures the state of affairs in the region in relation to gender equality. The countries in the region have continued to enact and reform legal and policy frameworks but have largely remain unimplemented. The primary reasons being lack of financial and accountability mechanisms to ensure that these programs and policies are actualized. For us to reach to the conclusion that governments are committed to promoting gender equality and women empowerment, we need to see a shift from lip service to prioritization and adequate resourcing of programs that advance gender equality.
What platforms are there for improving gender equality, for ending gender-based violence and for discussing forms of discrimination there? Do you suggest governments have to act now to accelerate issues and progress on gender equality in East Africa?
MJ: As Deliver for Good Campaign partners in Kenya together with other gender equality advocates, the Sustainable Development Goals and Africa Agenda 2063 provide important blueprints to developing our society economically, socially and politically. The Deliver for Good campaign is an evidence-based advocacy campaigns that call for better policies, programming and financial investments in girls and women. Most importantly, the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) is an important mobilization moment to ask governments and private sector to accelerate progress not just in East Africa but globally. Specifically, we will be using this moment to call on governments, not only make bigger and bolder commitments but also, to ensure that they match these commitments with financing and accountability mechanisms.
As the Deliver for Good campaign partners in Kenya, we have a particular interest on one of the GEF Action Coalitions – Gender Based Violence – to leverage on the Kenyan government leadership and the political will to end traditional practices that are harmful to women and girls such as Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage. Particularly and in line with the survey findings, we will be calling for: increased accountability for physical and sexual crimes against women; increased investment on prevention and protection programs while calling for inclusive efforts and programs that leave no woman behind in Kenya and East Africa.
Turkish Women’s Cup: Super Falcons battle Uzbekistan for top spot
February 20, 2021
Nigeria’s national women’s football team-the Super Falcons will seek another victory when they take on Uzbekistan’s women’s national team on Saturday.
This is after battling to a 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow Ladies team on Thursday in their opener at the ongoing Turkish Women’s Tournament in the city of Antalya.
ChinwenduIhezuo netted the only goal of the match at the Emir Sports Complex as the African champions earned their first win in their first game but with Uzbekistan crushing Equatorial Guinea 5-0, the Uzbeks led the group in the round-robin series.
Thursday’s outing was the first for the Super Falcons since being eliminated in the race for a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics 16 months ago and many expect a more coordinated performance from the Nigerian Ladies.
However, going into Saturday’s tie against a potentially more formidable team, Ordega has appealed to all to tone down on their expectations as the Super Falcons are in a transitional state.
“We will continue to do our best. Putting on the green and white is everyone’s dream. Whenever we put it on, we should always strive to give our all.
“Even if we lose, which will never be our intention, although I don’t pray we lose…, they should rather support us than criticise us. It will go a long way to help us get better,” she said.
Smuggled diary tells how abducted women survived Boko Haram camp
20 Feb 2021
The resistance began three months after the young women were taken from their school dormitory by Islamist militants and hidden in the depths of a forest. It would end in direct confrontation and disobedience, and an unlikely victory which saved their lives.
The story of the extraordinary courage of the women held for up to three years by the Islamist extremists in north-eastern Nigeria has never been told, despite the massive global attention focused on their abduction in April 2014.
The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls was tweeted by Michelle Obama, Kim Kardashian, the pope and others, in one of the most prominent examples of online activism ever. It brought the engagement of some of the most powerful states in the world, the dispatch of hundreds of troops and billions of dollars of military hardware to west Africa.
But now a book, due to be published early next month, will reveal the reality of life for the more than 200 women from the school in Chibok, who were kept as hostages in one of the most infamous mass abductions of recent decades.
“We wanted to tell the story of how these women survived, but also the story of why it took so long to free them in spite of, or perhaps because of, the social media campaign,” said Joe Parkinson, a co-author of Bring Back Our Girls, which is based on hundreds of interviews with the students, family members, former militants, officials, spies and others involved in their ordeal.
Among the students was Naomi Adamu. Her defiance began when the extremists told the students to swap their school uniforms for a black, flowing, all-covering garment. The 24-year-old kept her chequered blue dress, and then, risking a beating or worse, she began a diary.
The small act of rebellion gave her strength. When her Boko Haram minders told her she would be killed if she did not convert, marry a fighter and bear his children, she refused and was beaten with the butt of a rifle. Her captors did not follow through on their lethal threat, nor were she or the others who refused “marriage” subjected to sexual abuse. But they were condemned to backbreaking labour as “slaves”.
By mid-2015, with Boko Haram now on the retreat, Adamu and her closest friends were starting to lose their fear of the extremists. Inspired by her example, the other hostages began to fight back too, risking lashings with sticks and wire.
“I became the leader of our girls because I was the eldest among them and I was the most stubborn. Boko Haram wanted me to convert as an example because they knew the other girls listened to me – they beat me and bullied me and threatened to kill me, but I told them even if the heaven and earth come together I will not marry,” Adamu told the authors.
Soon, some of the hostages were openly insubordinate, refusing orders and being beaten repeatedly. They began quietly singing hymns when their guards were distracted. Then the singing got louder.
A small group of the most defiant students was separated. Adamu, their leader, was dubbed “the chief infidel” by furious Boko Haram leaders.
“When they realised we don’t wear hijab like the other girls they beat us and said they would cut off our heads. They made us wear hijab and pray but we decided together to fake the ceremony. We mouthed Christian prayers and told each other the story of Job,” said Adamu.
Once again the students were told they would be killed if they did not submit and convert. Again the small group of rebels refused.
When Boko Haram tried to starve others into obedience, Adamu helped organise a clandestine supply of rice to fuel resistance. The tactic worked, and more and more students began to renounce the faith they said they had adopted only out of fear.
“Twitter generated outrage … but not the actual means to free anybody,” said Parkinson. Nigeria’s feuding spy agencies called off a series of early deals, which probably would have freed all of the girls. The president himself suspected that the abduction was a hoax, set up by political rivals. Key informants close to Boko Haram were arrested by Nigeria’s military. A British spy plane sent to search for the women broke down en route to the country. Mutual distrust and poor relations with the Nigerians hindered the work of the 38 strong “interdisciplinary assistance team” deployed by the US. A botched air strike on Boko Haram’s headquarters left 10 of the girls dead and 30 or more injured, some maimed for life.
But Adamu remained determined to resist. “Partly I was strong because I was angry. I was angry we had been kidnapped before graduation,” she said. “And I was angry when 30 girls converted to Islam and got married … I felt some didn’t fight hard enough. It divided the group and weakened our resolve. People accepted they wouldn’t go home,” Adamu said.
Time was running out. The students were close to starvation, their rations were cut again and again. There was hope, however. Boko Haram was weaker than it had been since its resurgence in 2009, and increasingly fractured, with factions divided over what to do with their globally famous hostages.
A small team of Nigerian volunteers led by a diplomat from a little-known department of Switzerland’s foreign ministry, the human security division, had been working on a deal to free the students. In October 2016, a first batch of 21 students was released in return for a handful of senior Boko Haram militants. Then, seven months later, another 82. But at least 40 have died in the forest. Dozens are still there.
Adamu, defiant to the end, strapped her secret diaries to her body to carry them to freedom as she walked out through the bush. Driving away, she and the others chanted a Chibok song: “Today is a happy day.”
Parkinson, a reporter in Africa with the Wall Street Journal, said the story of the students raised an important question about dealing with extremists.
“The small team that ultimately answered the global demand to rescue the Chibok girls worked in secret for one of the world’s most discrete governments and smallest states. Its success relied not on loudly expressing moral judgment but on suspending it. They tried to reason with Boko Haram instead of denouncing it,” he said.
Adamu remains in northern Nigeria with ambitions to have her own family and set up some kind of business. But she is still not safe. Since the abduction of the Chibok students, Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 10,000 boys as child fighters as well as a similar number of girls and women, who have been used to make ransom demands to their families or forced into marriage.
“Our chief problem is that Chibok is now in danger again … If nothing changes it will only be a short time until one of us is kidnapped again,” she said.
Woman who twice broke into Stoke-on-Trent mosque causing £14k damage is jailed
20 FEB 2021
A 23-year-old woman who twice broke into a mosque and caused thousands of pounds' worth of damage has been jailed.
KajaTrudzik entered The Al-Noor Community Centre in Tunstall - a three-storey Victorian building converted into an Islamic educational centre and mosque - with Rose Singer and a man at night.
But Trudzik returned with another man, 27-year-old Kieran Knox, a week later. The two of them forced their way inside and caused £14,250 damage after writing words including, 'Make them stop', and, 'Boris', on the walls in red paint. They also threw white paint over an external brick wall.
But the pair were recognised by a committee member who knew they worked at the town's Costa Coffee. And Singer handed herself in after CCTV images of the intruders were published in The Sentinel and Stoke-on-Trent Live.
Now Trudzik has been jailed for 10 months, Singer was handed an 18-month community order and Knox was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months. The fourth defendant will be sentenced at a later date.
Prosecutor Jamie Scott said Trudzik, Singer and a man entered the Al-Noor Community Centre in Oldcourt Street at 9pm on June 24, 2019.
"Pots of red and white paint were found in one of the rooms. A pot of white paint was thrown from the third floor window and it splattered over the front of the building.
"On the third floor they smeared words in red paint including, 'Make them stop', 'He who enters will not leave alive', and 'Boris'."
A committee member recognisedTrudzik from the CCTV as someone who had served him at Costa Coffee, Tunstall. He went to the shop and recognisedTrudzik and Knox, who also worked there. The police were called. Singer contacted police and explained she was one of the intruders on June 24.
Trudzik, of Merrick Street, Northwood, pleaded guilty to two charges of burglary with intent to cause damage and possession of cannabis.
Knox, of Springfield Drive, Kidsgrove, admitted burglary with intent to cause damage. And Singer, of Stone Road, Tittensor, pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to cause damage and theft.
Oliver Lycett, mitigating for Knox, said his client was under the influence of alcohol but has now abstained from drink for more than a year.
He added: "It was not racially or religiously motivated. He accepts his behaviour was immature. It was naive, reckless and impulsive.
Arif Hussain, representing Singer, a student at Aberystwyth University, said she accepts she caused some damage and took some items. He said: "She was not identified by anyone. She presented herself because she felt guilty."
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As part of his suspended sentence, Knox must complete a rehabilitation activity requirement for 10 days and a four-month electronically-monitored curfew, from 10pm to 6am. He was ordered to pay £2,500 compensation.
"These offences are so serious only immediate custody is appropriate, but it will not trigger your automatic deportation. That will be a matter for the appropriate authorities to consider."
Princess Eugenie and husband share name of new baby son
The baby — a ninth great-grandchild for Queen Elizabeth II — was born February 9 at London’s Portland Hospital.
Eugenie, 30, is the younger daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, and a granddaughter of the queen. The baby, who weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce, is her first child and is 11th in line to the British throne.
Eugenie said on Instagram that the baby is named after his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, who had Augustus as a middle name.
One of his middle names pays tribute to Eugenie’s grandfather, Prince Philip. The queen’s 99-year-old husband is currently in a London hospital where he was admitted on Tuesday after feeling ill. Hawke is a Brooksbank family name.
The baby is not expected to get a royal title and will be known as Master August Brooksbank.
Eugenie married 35-year-old Brooksbank, a businessman, in October 2018 at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Eugenie posted a picture on Instagram of the couple holding their son, who is swaddled in a blue blanket with a matching cap.
The queen and Prince Philip have two more great-grandchildren on the way. Both Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Princess Anne’s daughter Zoe Tindall are due to give birth this year.
The child of Meghan and her husband Prince Harry will become eighth in line to the throne after elder brother Archie, and will push baby August down to 12th in the line of succession.
Harry and Meghan gave up official royal duties last year and moved to California. Yesterday the palace announced that the split will be final, with the couple giving up military and charitable patronages they held on behalf of the queen.
Four women dupe Indian man with fake message; rob him of Rs 55 lakh in Dubai
February 21, 2021
A 33-year-old Indian man in Dubai has been robbed of Rs 55,30,806 by a gang of four women after being lured into a fake massage parlour through a dating app, according to a media report.
The case was heard at the Dubai Court of First Instance, the Gulf News reported.
According to court records, the victim, who was not identified, saw an offer for a massage session for 200 Dirhams (Rs 3,950) with pictures of beautiful girls promoting it.
He contacted the number provided on the app and went to an apartment in the Al Refaa area of Dubai in November 2020.
“I saw four African women inside the apartment…They asked me to open my bank’s application [on my mobile phone] and transfer money. They threatened me with a knife at my throat and slapped me on the face,” the report quoted the victim as saying.
One of the women then took his credit card and withdrew 30,000 Dirhams (Rs 5,92,586) from an ATM. He was kept confined in the apartment for one day as the women transferred 250,000 Dirhams (Rs 49,38,219) from the victim’s bank account to other accounts, the report said.
“They allowed me to leave the apartment only after they took away my iPhone too. I alerted the bank and reported the incident to the police,” added the victim.
According to Dubai Police, three Nigerian women were arrested from Sharjah after intensive investigations, while a fourth woman is still at large.
“One of them admitted to luring the victim through the Tinder application, offering massage services and using pictures of beautiful women. They kept the victim locked up inside the apartment and wired the money from his account to different accounts outside the country,” said a policeman.
The three Nigerian defendants have been charged with robbery, issuing threats, keeping the victim forcefully confined inside an apartment and prostitution.
Women’s World Heart Day 2021
February 20, 2021
The Department of Cardiology, Cauvery Heart and Multispeciality Hospital, will be celebrating Women’s World Heart Day 2021 at its premises today (Feb. 20) from 4 pm to 5 pm.
DCP (Traffic & Crime) M.S. Geetha Prasanna will be the chief guest. Salma Subhan Khan of MK Agrotech Private Limited (Manufactures of Sunpure Cooking Oil) will be the guest of honour. Hospital Chairman Dr. G.R. Chandrashekar and Managing Director Dr. Sarala Chandrashekar will be the special invitees.
Top-ranked UConn Women Win In 1st Visit To Xavier 83-32
By Associated Press
21st February, 202
Christyn Williams scored 22 points and No. 1 Connecticut breezed in its first visit to Xavier, 83-32 on Saturday for its eighth straight win.
High-scoring Paige Bueckers and Olivia Nelson-Odoba each added 11 points for the Huskies (18-1, 15-0 Big East).
UConn led 42-13 at halftime and Bueckers didn’t score after the break. She had seven assists.
Aaliyah Edwards had 16 points for the Huskies, whose only loss was to then-No. 19 Arkansas 90-87 on Jan. 28.
The win was Connecticut’s second over Xavier (4-7, 1-6) this season. Connecticut, which returned to the top ranking earlier this week, cruised past the Musketeers 106-59 on Dec. 19.
As coach Geno Auriemma watched with his arms folded across his chest most of the time, the Huskies never trailed. The game was tied at 2 for little over a minute in the first quarter before UConn ran off 12 straight points.
Connecticut’s active man-to-man defense forced Xavier into a season-high 18 turnovers, and the Huskies enjoyed huge advantages of 29-2 in points off turnovers and 28-9 in fast-break points.
Xavier: Senior forward A’riana Gray was attended by trainers and led off the floor after suffering a head injury in a collision with a teammate with 7:26 left in the third quarter. She returned with 1:04 left in the quarter.
Fontanive and Hasler share spoils at final Women's Monobob World Series
By Liam Morgan
20 February 2021
Switzerland's Martina Fontanive and Melanie Hasler shared victory in the final Women's Monobob World Series event of the season in Königssee.
Fontanive and Hasler completed their two runs in an identical combined time of 1min 48.37sec.
Fasler clocked 53.89sec to lead after the first run, with Fontanive 0.27 adrift.
Fontanive roared back in the second run to win by 0.25 and end the World Series season on a high.
Mica McNeill of Britain wad fourth, while fifth went to Russian Nadezhda Sergeeva, who served an eight-month ban after she was one of two Russian athletes from the country to test positive while representing the neutral team at Pyeongchang 2018.
A total of 14 races were held as part of the 2020-2021 World Series.
Women's monobob is due to make its Olympic debut at Beijing 2022, and made its first World Championships appearance at last weekend's World Championships in Altenberg.
Women disguised themselves as old ladies in bid to cheat Covid vaccine waitlist
Two women were caught disguised as elderly women to try and get Covid Vaccine shots, Florida health officials say.
The fake “grannies”, who were both in their 30s and 40s, appeared at the Orange County Convention Center wearing hats, gloves and glasses.
Only members of the general public those aged 65 and up are currently eligible for their jabs in Florida.
Officials say the women had already managed to get their first vaccine and were trying to get their second shots.
“So we realised a couple of young ladies came dressed up as grannies to get vaccinated for the second time,” said Dr Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.
The women were caught out after their dates of birth did not match those they had used to register for vaccinations.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office has identified the women as Olga Monroy-Ramirez, 44, and Martha Vivian Monroy, 34.
They were issued trespass warnings and no other law enforcement action was taken again them.
“And we don’t have any information about whether they were wearing disguises or how they were dressed,” the sheriff’s department added in a statement.
INTERVIEW: Female Saudi driver feels right at home at Diriyah E-Prix
February 21, 2021
RIYADH: Ahead of the 2021 Diriyah E-Prix double-header on Friday, Arab News caught up with Reema Al-Juffali, one of Saudi Arabia’s rising stars in motorsports. Al-Juffali, 29, talked about Formula E, sustainability and her dream race.
Q: You made history in Diriyah by becoming the first female racer to drive competitively in the Kingdom during the Jaguar I-Pace. What did that moment mean to you?
That was a day of many firsts for me and one I will cherish for the rest of my life. It was my first time racing in an electric car and my first time racing in an international event on home soil, so it was truly a historic moment for me and my country. I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to race in front of home fans and it was the highlight of my career so far. Hopefully, there will be many more opportunities like this in the future.
Q: The Diriyah Circuit has become one of the more iconic circuits in Formula E. What do you think makes it so special?
The circuit has been hailed by many drivers as a very unique and challenging track to drive. I think part of this is because we have the world’s most modern motorsport taking place on a site that honors the Kingdom’s past. It is a very special combination. Racing in the heart of Diriyah gives you a very strong feeling of connection to our Kingdom’s history. For me, having never raced on a street circuit before, I had to adjust to being closer to the walls while driving an electric car but it is something I love and will never forget.
Q: Now in its third year, we have seen Saudis become more engaged with the Diriyah E-Prix. Can you tell us about the excitement you are sensing ahead of this year’s race?
The passion for motorsport in the Kingdom runs deep. Bringing events like Formula E to Saudi is very exciting for racing fans who are not familiar with street racing. I am also very proud of the first Formula E night race to take place at the circuit on home soil, which will be an incredible moment for the country and the sport. It is fantastic to see the organizers making the most of the global spotlight that motorsport brings. It will showcase some of the beauty of our land and our capacity to put on brilliant, world-class events.
Q: Formula E stretches beyond just sports, it also aims to promote a sustainable and clean future, which is in line with the Saudi government’s initiatives. How important is it for a sport to promote the sustainability message in the Kingdom and beyond?
Our country is on a journey toward sustainability. Formula E’s message for promoting a clean future complements the aspirations of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. As a driver, I feel a responsibility to spread awareness regarding the need for a more sustainable approach to everyday life. I am honored to be a part of this journey towards a more environmentally conscious future.
Q: You are currently competing in Formula 4. What are your aspirations for the future?
One of my ultimate goals in life is to race Le Mans with some of the best drivers in the world. But more than anything I just want to excel in my field, regardless of the category or the event. I want to feel proud of my performance. The sky is the limit.
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