Sarah, 27, aims to be Iraq’s jewel with a crown

Sarah Idan, 27, a singer, songwriter and musician from Baghdad, will represent her country at the Miss Universe pageant in the US this month. (Via social media)
Updated 08 November 2017
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Sarah, 27, aims to be Iraq’s jewel with a crown

BAGHDAD: Sarah Idan carries the hopes and dreams of Iraq on her shoulders — and very pretty shoulders they are too.
Sarah, 27, a singer, songwriter and musician from Baghdad, will represent her country at the Miss Universe pageant in the US this month.
“It’s an incredible honor,” she said on social media. “Very grateful and excited.”
Sarah qualified for the contest last week when she was crowned Miss Universe Iraq 2017 at a ceremony in Baghdad — but, Iraq being Iraq, the process was not without incident. Judges found out that the initial winner, Vian Sulaimani, had been married and divorced, which is against the rules.
It is more than 40 years since Iraq had a contestant at the pageant. Wijdan Sulyman took part in Puerto Rico in 1972.
Sarah was born and raised in Baghdad. After the invasion in 2003, she worked with the American-led coalition forces in the city, which gave her the opportunity to travel to the US. Last year she won the Miss Iraq USA title in Michigan.
Many Iraqis welcomed her participation in the pageant. “We need to breathe some air away from the wars and killings,” Mona Jaleel, a government employee, told Arab News. “We are not familiar with these contests and I do not think that our nominee will reach the final stages, but I am so excited to see our girl there.”
Hadiya Enad, a teacher, said: “It’s good to revive such events in Iraq. I am proud to finally see Iraqis participating in this contest. We have such beautiful girls, so they have to participate in these events. I love watching them,” Enad said.
Others, however, were less impressed. “The contest does not mean anything,” Sharief Soud said.
And Saman Mohammed, 35, a cameraman, told Arab News: “I personally do not like such events and I would not cover it. I have spent all my life living under war and fighting, who cares about these events?”
The pageant takes place in Las Vegas on Nov. 26.


Royals Harry and Meghan go barefoot on Bondi

Despite morning fog, the pair met local surfers enjoying winter swells. (AP)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Royals Harry and Meghan go barefoot on Bondi

  • Pre-prepared signs screaming “G’day Harry and Meghan” greeted the royal couple

SYDNEY: British royals Harry and Meghan kicked off their shoes and donned tropical garlands Friday, as they hit Sydney’s famed Bondi beach for the latest stop on their Australian tour.
Expectant Meghan donned a summer dress, putting aside her high heels, while Harry ditched his usual suit for chinos as the couple lapped up cheers from Australian fans and enjoyed Bondi’s surf.
Despite morning fog, the pair met local surfers enjoying winter swells and sat down on the sand for a long chat with leaders of the OneWave group, which focuses on helping people improve mental health by getting outdoors.
Pre-prepared signs screaming “G’day Harry and Meghan” greeted the royal couple, who have received a warm welcome from fans throughout the start of their 16-day pacific tour.
While half of Australians oppose having British monarchs as head of state, and the vast majority of Australians have carried on with business as usual during the visit, there has been sizable support for the celebrity couple at every stop.
News that the Duchess of Sussex is pregnant has only made the crowds swell.
Amid a torrent of fawning press coverage declaring Meghan the “Queen of hugs” and the prince receiving “buckets of love,” the Australian Republican Movement is putting on a brave face.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very welcome visitors” the group said at the start of the trip, pointedly adding that “Australians of all ages know the difference between this wonderful event and the questions of our nation’s identity and future.”
In a 1999 referendum, 55 percent of Australians voted against replacing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, although polls indicate support for republicanism has grown since then.
The opposition Labor party has promised a plebiscite on the issue if it wins a general election expected in 2019.