Kids' UK Ramadan initiative to raise money for children of Turkiye … – Arab News
LONDON: An initiative started three years ago by a British Muslim 10-year-old boy in London to raise money while fasting during Ramadan has returned with a new way of raising funds, organizers said.
This year, the scheme will support local mental health and bereavement charity, Supporting Humanity, and team up with UK-based Help Yateem — a non-profit international organization that supports orphans — to raise money for children affected by the devastating earthquakes in Syria and Turkiye.
Zaavier Khan, from Chingford, in east London, began his campaign during the Muslim holy month alone to collect £5,000 ($6,503) for UK food parcels and last year he toured restaurants and homes and cooked with a 15-member squad.
This year, fundraising will be via a Just Giving page and a one-day food sale is being organized for which kids and adults are sourcing sponsors.
Sumaiya Khoda, trustee at Supporting Humanity, said: “Following the devastating impact of the earthquakes, the tremors will leave a lasting impact not just on the country but on the minds and lives of these vulnerable children.

“These young lives aren’t just physically and financially impacted but will have emotional impacts of trauma for years.
“Imagine losing your whole family, your mother, father, siblings and watch them go in front of you whilst you remain helpless and trapped yourself.”
Khan’s mother, Tahreem Noor, said many of the children who have been taking part in the annual initiative had been rewarded by their schools and local communities, becoming “local heroes and an inspiration” for other children.
Noor, who is also head of operations and communications at Supporting Humanity, said: “This is the third year for me running this campaign with the kids.
“The Ramadan Kid campaign with a veritable charity, feels like a non-negotiable part of our lives now, to do this annually.
“Both the Ramadan kids and the children of Turkiye and Syria will relish the opportunity to gain your support.
“The Ramadan kids want to show the world what a big difference a small group of children with the passion for charity and being good humans, can make,” she added.
SEOUL, South Korea: North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile toward the sea on Sunday, its neighbors said, ramping up testing activities in response to US-South Korean military drills that it views as an invasion rehearsal.
The missile launched from the North’s northwestern region flew across the country before it landed in the waters off its east coast, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
It said South Korea’s military has boosted its surveillance posture and maintains a readiness in close coordination with the United States.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said a suspected North Korean missile was launched on Sunday morning. It said the suspected weapon landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. There were no immediate reports of damage in the area.
The launch was the North’s third round of weapons tests since the US and South Korean militaries began their joint military drills last Monday.
The latest US-South Korean drills, which include computer simulations and field exercises, are to continue until Thursday. The field exercises are the biggest of their kind since 2018.
The North views such US-South Korean military drills as a practice to launch an invasion, though Washington and Seoul have steadfastly said their training is defensive in nature.
The weapons North Korea recently tested include its longest-range Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile designed to strike the US mainland. The North’s state media quoted leader Kim Jong Un as saying the ICBM launch was meant to “strike fear into the enemies.”
A day before the start of the drills, North Korea also fired cruise missiles from a submarine. The North’s state media said the submarine-launched missile was a demonstration of its resolve to respond with “overwhelming powerful” force to the intensifying military maneuvers by “the US imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces.”
MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin made a surprise weekend visit to the war-ravaged port of Mariupol, state media reported, the Kremlin leader’s first trip to the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine’s Donbas region since the conflict began.
The visit came after Putin traveled to Crimea on Saturday in an unannounced visit to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine, and just two days after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader.
Putin is yet to comment publicly on the ICC warrant, but his trips into Ukrainian territory claimed by Russia was seen by some observers as an act of defiance.
Mariupol fell in May after one of the war’s longest and bloodiest battles, marking Russia’s first major victory after it failed to seize Kyiv and focused instead on southeastern Ukraine
The Organization for Security and Cooperation and Europe (OSCE) said Russia’s early bombing of a maternity hospital there was a war crime.
Putin flew by helicopter to Mariupol for “a working trip,” Russian news agencies reported citing the Kremlin. He traveled around several districts of the city, making stops and talking to residents.
It is the closest to the front lines Putin has been since the year-long war began.
The ICC issued an arrest warrant on Friday against Putin, accusing him of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine, a highly symbolic move that isolates the Russian leader further.
While Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has made a number of trips to the battlefield to boost the morale of his troops and talk strategy, Putin has largely remained inside the Kremlin while running what Russia calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Kyiv and its allies say the invasion, now in its 13th month, is an imperialistic land grab that has killed thousands and displaced millions of people in Ukraine.
In the Nevsky district of Mariupol, Putin visited a family in their home, Russian media reported. The new residential neighborhood has been built by Russian military with first people moving in last September.
Residents have been “actively” returning, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, who accompanied Putin, was cited as saying by Russian agencies.
Mariupol had a population of half a million people before the war and was home to the Azovstal steel plant, one of Europe’s largest.
“The downtown has been badly damaged,” Khusnullin said. “We want to finish (reconstruction) of the center by the end of the year, at least the facade part. The center is very beautiful.”
Russian media broadcast videos showing the Russian leader driving a car at night through a built-up area as well as walking into what media said was the philharmonic, restored in just three months.
There was also no immediate reaction to the visit from Kyiv.
Mariupol is in the Donetsk region, one of the four regions Putin moved in September to annex. Kyiv and its Western allies condemned the move as illegal. Donetsk, together with the Luhansk region, comprise most of the Donbas industrialized part of Ukraine that has seen the biggest battle in Europe for generations.
Russian media reported on Sunday that Putin also met with the top commander of his military operation in Ukraine, including Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov who is in charge of Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
ASTANA: Kazakhstan holds snap parliamentary elections Sunday as the leader of the Central Asian country pushes political reforms that critics say are designed to consolidate power one year after deadly protests.
Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. (0100 GMT). Around 12 million voters have until 8 p.m. to cast their ballots.
The huge, oil-rich nation is wedged between its former Soviet master Russia and China, which is gaining status in Central Asia as an economic powerhouse.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced the early vote as part of a “modernization” drive introduced months after protests against fuel prices erupted in January last year. They were brutally crushed and 238 people died, according to the official toll.
Tokayev, a former diplomat, was hand-picked in 2019 by his predecessor and mentor Nursultan Nazarbayev to take the helm after a nearly three-decade rule. But Tokayev purged vestiges of that era after the demonstrations.
He promised to reform government institutions and in January dissolved parliament, saying early polls would “give new impetus to the modernization.”
The ex-Soviet country’s elections now feature a wider array of candidates but there was skepticism in Almaty over the changes.
“Will I take part in the elections? No, to be honest… because I hardly believe in fair elections in Kazakhstan in general,” Aset Smagulov, a 21-year-old IT specialist, told AFP before the poll.
Independent candidates are allowed to run for parliament for the first time in nearly 20 years, whereas the previous lower house was made up of three pro-government parties.
The threshold to enter the 98-seat legislature has been lowered to five percent and a 30 percent quota was introduced for women, young people and people with disabilities.
Political scientist Dimash Alzhanov said the ruling elites remain in control of the votes, despite the changes.
“The electoral system has changed and gives the impression of choice. But in reality, the president and his administration are keeping the vote count in their hands,” Alzhanov told AFP.
“Here, elections are held in order to keep power. That’s what elections are in an authoritarian country,” he said.
After the riots that grew out of peaceful demonstrations against a fuel price spike, Tokayev was re-elected in a snap presidential vote in November, securing a landslide win in an election criticized for lacking competition.
Inequality and corruption persist and soaring inflation is hurting the purchasing power of the population of nearly 20 million people.
In economic hub Almaty, the campaign was in full swing with candidate posters on restaurant windows, scaffolding and street lamps.

Ambiguous slogans — like “Order is where the truth is” or “With me there is no mess” — reflect candidates’ lacklustre political platforms.
But some young voters welcomed the new faces.
“This is the first time I’ve seen new parties and independent candidates in parliamentary elections. For me, it’s new,” Adia Abubakir, a 20-year-old graphic designer, told AFP.
In total, seven parties will participate in this election. Two of them were recently registered, but several opposition parties and independent candidates were banned.
“I would like to believe that my voice can make a difference,” said Akbota Silim, a 21-year-old journalist.
Almaty-based political analyst Andrei Chebotarev estimated that four or five parties will be presented in parliament following the election.
“Loyal parties will be present in parliament and Amanat, the presidential party, will retain the majority of seats,” he told AFP.
But he added: “The diversity of parties will have an impact on the acceptance of the election results, both for the population and internationally.”
OHRID, North Macedonia: The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo have tentatively agreed on how to implement a European Union-sponsored plan to normalize their relations after decades of tensions between the two Balkan wartime foes, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Saturday after chairing talks between them.
Speaking at a news conference after nearly 12 hours of talks in the North Macedonian lakeside resort of Ohrid, Borrell told reporters that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti ” have reached an agreement on how to do it.”
They agreed last month to the wording of an 11-point EU plan to normalize relations following the neighbors’ 1998-1999 war and Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008.
“Objective today was to agree on how to implement the agreement accepted in the last high-level meeting,” Borrell said. “This means practical steps on what has to be done, when, by who and how.”
Both countries hope to join the European Union one day, and they have been told they must first mend their relations. Solving the dispute between Serbia and Kosovo has become more important as war rages in Ukraine and fears mount that Russia could try to stir instability in the volatile Balkans, where it holds historic influence.
Borrell said that despite the fact that “a more ambitious text” was proposed at the beginning of Saturday’s negotiations than the one the parties have accepted, “it will become an integral part of their respective European Union path.”
“Parties could not reach an agreement on this more detailed proposal,” Borrell said. “Kosovo lacked flexibility on the substance (of the agreement), while Serbia previously stated principle not to sign although they are ready to implement.”
“It is clear that both parties will gain a significant benefit from this agreement, because the dialogue is not only because Kosovo and Serbia … It is about the stability, the security and the prosperity of the whole region,” Borrell said.
The EU plan calls for the two countries to maintain good neighborly relations and recognize each other’s official documents and national symbols. If implemented, it would prevent Belgrade from blocking Kosovo’s attempts to seek membership in the United Nations and other international organizations.
The agreement, drafted by France and Germany and supported by the US, doesn’t explicitly call for mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia.
Although tentatively agreeing on the EU plan reached last month, Serbia’s populist President Vucic seemed to backtrack on some of its points after pressure from far-right groups, which consider Kosovo the cradle of the Serbian state and Orthodox religion.
Vucic said Thursday that he “won’t sign anything” at the Ohrid meeting and earlier pledged never to recognize Kosovo or allow its UN membership. He repeated Saturday that he has not signed the implementation document although Kurti insisted on it.
“Today wasn’t any kind of a D day, but it was a good day,” Vucic said. “In the months ahead, we are facing serious and difficult tasks.”
On the other hand, Kurti complained that Vucic did not sign the implementation deal on Saturday.
“Now it is up to the EU to make it internationally binding,” Kurti said.
Kosovo is a majority ethnic Albanian former Serbian province. The 1998-1999 war erupted when separatist ethnic Albanians rebelled against Serbia’s rule, and Belgrade responded with a brutal crackdown. About 13,000 people died, mostly ethnic Albanians. In 1999 a NATO military intervention forced Serbia to pull out of the territory. Kosovo declared independence in 2008.
Tensions have simmered ever since. Kosovo’s independence is recognized by many Western countries. But it is opposed by Belgrade with the backing of Russia and China. EU-brokered talks have made little headway in recent years.
Serbia has maintained close ties to its traditional Slavic ally Russia despite the war in Ukraine, partly because of Moscow’s opposition to Kosovo’s independence and possible veto on its UN membership at the Security Council.
UNITED NATIONS: The UN’s premiere global body fighting for gender equality on Saturday called for wide-ranging efforts to close the gap between men and women in today’s technology-driven world and urged zero tolerance for gender-based violence and harassment online.
In a document approved by consensus after all-night negotiations at the end of a two-week meeting, the Commission on the Status of Women expressed grave concern at the interrelation between offline and online violence, harassment and discrimination against women and girls — and it condemned the increase in these acts.
It called for a significant increase in investments by the public and private sector to bridge the gender digital divide. It also called for the removal of barriers to equal access to digital technology for all women and girls, and new policies and programs to achieve gender parity in emerging scientific and technological fields.
Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women, an entity of the United Nations focusing on gender equality and the empowerment, called the document “game-changing” in promoting a blueprint for a more equal and connected world for women and girls. The challenge now, she said, is for governments, the private sector, civil society and young people to turn the blueprint “into reality for all women and girls.”
At the start of the commission’s two-week meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said its focus was very timely because women and girls are being left behind as technology races ahead.
“Three billion people are still unconnected to the Internet, the majority of them women and girls in developing countries, (and) in least developed countries just 19 percent of women are online,” Guterres said. “Globally, girls and women make up just one-third of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics” and men outnumber women two to one in the tech industry.
Bahous told the opening meeting that “the digital divide has become the new face of gender inequality,” with 259 million more men than women online last year. She also cited a survey of female journalists from 125 countries that found three-quarters had experienced online harassment in the course of their work and a third had engaged in self-censorship in response.
The “agreed conclusions” document adopted Saturday by the 45-member commission calls for equal quality education for women and girls in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, information and communications technology, and digital literacy so they can thrive in the rapidly changing world.
During lengthy negotiations on the document, which has 93 paragraphs, UN diplomats said language on women’s rights was challenged by Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Holy See and human rights language was also challenged by those countries as well as Cuba and China. There were also intense debates over language on gender-based violence facilitated by technology, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations were closed.
The final document reaffirms the 1995 Beijing platform adopted by 189 countries which said for the first time in a UN document, that women’s human rights include the right to control and decide “on matters relating to their sexuality, including their sexual and reproductive health, free of discrimination, coercion and violence.”
The final issue blocking consensus was Pakistan’s insistence on adding a reference to “foreign occupation” to the document, and Israel’s strong opposition, diplomats said. The reference was not included and before the document’s adoption Pakistan’s representative expressed regret that the needs and priorities of women belonging to developing countries and facing humanitarian crisis including foreign occupation were not included.


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