Ahead of first Saudi gig, Hiba Tawaji all praise for Kingdom

Hiba Tawaji (Via Facebook)
Updated 04 December 2017
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Ahead of first Saudi gig, Hiba Tawaji all praise for Kingdom

JEDDAH: Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji is preparing to perform her forthcoming concert at the King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh on Dec. 6.
She will be the first Lebanese singer to perform in the Kingdom and has already expressed her pride via Twitter for participating in the event.
Tawaji found the concert a historic step in the Saudi cultural openness project.
As the concert approaches, the Lebanese star, who two days ago released “Sawt El Eid” or “Voice of the Feast” from her new album “Hallelujah,” announced that she had prepared a repertoire including songs from her three albums, in addition to famous international and Arab songs, with video and “graphics” accompanying her songs on stage.
In an interview with Sayidaty, Tawaji reiterated that the openness in Saudi Arabia is very positive.
She said: “It augurs well in all areas, especially for decisions concerning women, which have long supported their rights, provided they do not conflict with the basic principles, such as the preservation of femininity and significant and respectable principles.”
She added: “I am very happy and I am honored to be the first Lebanese singer to perform in Saudi Arabia, especially as the concert will be supported by the General Entertainment Authority, which is a landmark in women’s rights and cultural openness.”
She said she was preparing a new album in both French and English, and that some of the songs would be released next year.
“At the same time I prepare for a group of performances, but all of them are under study, in addition to the Christmas album, which is entitled ‘Hallelujah’ and will be released sooner. It was produced by Osama Rahbani. We have released ‘Eid El-Hobb’ or ‘Valentine’s Day,’ but all songs will be released successively,” she concluded.


Two rhinos die in Chad after being relocated from S.Africa

Updated 21 October 2018
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Two rhinos die in Chad after being relocated from S.Africa

JOHANNESBURG: Two of six critically endangered black rhinos have died of unknown causes five months after being flown from South Africa to Chad in a pioneering project to re-introduce the animals, officials said Sunday.
Rhinos in Chad were wiped out by poaching nearly 50 years ago, and the six rhinos were intended to establish a new population in the country after intensive anti-poaching measures were put in place to protect them.
“We can confirm that these two rhinos (a male and a female) were not poached,” the South African environment department and Chad government said in a joint statement. “However, the exact cause of death is not yet known.”
In July, there was widespread outrage and a bitter row over responsibility when 11 black rhinos in Kenya died after being transferred to a new sanctuary, mainly due to toxic levels of salt in borehole drinking water.
The rhinos in Chad had been roaming free in Zakouma National Park since late August after a gradual acclimatization process that saw them first released into small enclosures.
The carcasses of the cow and bull were discovered on October 15.
The surviving four rhinos are being closely monitored, the statement said, adding that a specialist veterinarian had traveled to the park to conduct postmortems.
It said the cause of death would be announced as soon as possible.
In May, the six rhinos were sedated with darts, put in special ventilated steel crates and driven under police escort from Addo park in South Africa to Port Elizabeth airport.
They were then flown to Chad on a 3,000-mile (4,800-kilometer) flight, accompanied by a team of vets checking their stress levels.
The high-profile transfer, which took two years of planning, was hailed as major conservation breakthrough, with translocation organizer African Parks describing it as a “truly hopeful story.”
There are fewer than 25,000 rhinos left in the wild in Africa due to a surge in poaching, and only 5,000 of them are black rhinos.
Black rhinos are rated as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Rhinos are targeted to feed a booming demand for rhino horn in China, Vietnam and other Asian countries, where it is believed to have medicinal qualities.
Northern white rhinos disappeared from Chad several decades ago and the last western black rhino was recorded there in 1972, after decades of poaching pushed both subspecies to local extinction.
Rhinos were re-introduced to Rwanda in 2017.