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‘Afghan girl’ from famous National Geographic cover finds asylum in Italy

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Sharbat Gula, the green-eyed Afghan woman immortalised decades ago on National Geographic cover, has been evacuated to Italy, Rome says.

Italy has given safe haven to Sharbat Gula, the green-eyed “Afghan Girl” whose 1985 photo in National Geographic became a symbol of her country’s wars, Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office said.

The government intervened after Gula asked for help to leave Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country in August, a statement said on Thursday, adding that her arrival was part of a broader programme to evacuate and integrate Afghan citizens.

US photographer Steve McCurry took the picture of Gula when she was a youngster, living in a refugee camp on the Pakistan-Afghan border.

Her startling green eyes, peering out from a headscarf with a mixture of ferocity and pain, made her know internationally but her identity was only discovered in 2002 when McCurry returned to the region and tracked her down.

An FBI analyst, forensic sculptor, and the inventor of iris recognition all verified her identity, National Geographic said at the time.

READ MORE: Pakistan deports “Afghan Girl” of National Geographic fame

Refugee most of her life

In 2016, Pakistan arrested Gula for forging a national identity card in an effort to live in the country.

Gula said she first arrived in Pakistan as an orphan, some four or five years after the Soviet invasion of 1979, one of the millions of Afghans who have sought refuge over the border since.

The then Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, welcomed her back and promised to give her an apartment to ensure she “lives with dignity and security in her homeland”.

In early September, Rome said it had evacuated almost 5,000 Afghans from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in August.

Italy earlier this month said it had granted citizenship to Afghanistan’s first woman chief prosecutor, Maria Bashir, after she had landed in the European country on September 9.

READ MORE: Taliban’s first 100 days: Five main issues that grip Afghanistan

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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Chief of Defence Force inducted into International Fellows Hall of Fame

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Chief of Defence Force Major General Abdulla Shamaal has been inducted into the International Fellows Hall of Fame at the National Defence University (NDU) in Washington, DC, United States (US).

Major General Shamaal received the award at the International Fellows Hall of Fame induction ceremony held at the Sydney Sheraton Grand Hotel. Lieutenant General Michael Plehn, the President of the NDU, presented the certificate and memento of induction into the International Fellows Hall of Fame.

Major General Shamaal is the first Maldivian to be awarded the honour. He and four others from four countries have been awarded the honour. He completed a Master of Arts in Strategic Security Studies from the NDU in 2012 and was awarded the Distinguished Honour Graduate of the course.

The International Fellows Hall of Fame was established in 1999. The purpose of the programme is to provide a prestigious and visible means of honouring NDU graduates who have attained through merit the highest positions in their nation’s armed forces, service component, or government, or who have held an equivalent position in a multinational organisation. The members of the International Fellows Hall of Fame are recognised in a formal ceremony on the NDU campus. Their photographs are displayed in Marshall Hall in the Hall of Fame area.

 

Source: psmnews

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Media urged to highlight nations’ joint BRI efforts

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A senior official underlined on Tuesday the important role of media in boosting high-quality cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, urging international media outlets to tell about participating countries’ joint efforts to promote peace and prosperity, open, green and innovative development, and cultural progress.

Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remark in a video speech at the 2022 Media Cooperation Forum on Belt and Road, which was held in Xi’an, Shaanxi province.

Huang said that jointly building the Belt and Road was a significant initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping in line with the trend of global development and in answering the call of the times, with a view to advancing the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Since the initiative was proposed, infrastructure connectivity has advanced, the synergy of rules and standards has made progress and the bonds among people in countries involved in the initiative have been strengthened, Huang said.

The efforts to enhance Belt and Road cooperation have been deepened with fruitful results, and the initiative has become a global public good and a platform for international cooperation welcomed by the international community, he added.

Emphasizing the media’s important role in promoting the communication of information, enhancing mutual trust and building consensus, Huang said jointly building the Belt and Road is inseparable from the active participation of the media outlets worldwide as well as their sincere exchanges and pragmatic cooperation.

Looking forward, Huang expressed his hope that international media organizations will actively promote the perspective of civilization that features equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness, make the voices of win-win cooperation heard and contribute to high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

The forum was held in both an online and offline format. It was jointly organized by People’s Daily, the CPC Shaanxi Provincial Committee and the Shaanxi provincial government. More than 120 media representatives from over 40 countries and international organizations attended the forum.

By the end of March, a total of 149 countries and 32 international organizations had signed cooperation documents with China on jointly building the Belt and Road.

From 2013 to 2021, the volume of trade in goods between China and countries involved in the Belt and Road amounted to around $11 trillion, and two-way investment exceeded $230 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

 

Source: China Daily

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Management plans to be implemented this year for two protected areas in Baa Atoll

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The Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve Office has stated management plans will be formulated and implemented this year for two more areas in the atoll declared as protected areas.

Baa Atoll currently has 10 protected areas, of which three areas have a management plan. These three areas are Hanifaru, Olhugiri and Mendhoo region.

The Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve Office revealed management plans are being formulated for two more areas, to be implemented this year. As such, management plans are to be implemented this year for the areas of Angafaru and Goidhoo Koaru.

Angafaru was declared protected on June 6, 2009. The protected area includes Dhonfanuthila, Dhiguthila and Mahaanagaa. The area used to be a breeding ground for both grey and white tip reef sharks. However, reef shark numbers have dramatically decreased from the site due to overfishing

Goidhoo Koaru, located on the northern side on the inhabited island of Goidhoo, was declared protected on June 5, 2011. This area has the highest biodiversity and largest mangrove forest within Baa Atoll. It is one of the largest mangrove ecosystems within the nation and has a high biodiversity population of mangrove associated vertebrates and invertebrates. This site is also a popular roosting site for migratory birds such as the Ruddy Turnstone and Northern Shoveler.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has declared Baa Atoll as a biosphere reserve for an additional 10 years. UNESCO has instructed the Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve Office to formulate and implement effective management plans for all protected areas in the region.

 

Source: psmnews

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