Love of Korean pop links UK teenagers with Palestinian refugees

BTS at the 2017 American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theatre LA Live.
Updated 06 February 2018
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Love of Korean pop links UK teenagers with Palestinian refugees

LONDON: The sugary pop songs of South Korean groups BTS, EXO and BlackPink might be sung in Korean but it has not stopped Palestinian refugee teenager Tasnim from being an avid fan from her home in war-torn Syria.
To Tasnim’s surprise, it is a love shared by students at London’s Connaught School for Girls with whom her school in Damascus holds Skype calls as part of a project to connect refugee students in the Middle East with European and US pupils.
“My favorite kind of music is K-pop music, Korean music,” exclaimed Tasnim during a recent video call, sitting alongside classmates from two schools in the Syrian capital run by aid agency United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA).
“Do you like BTS?” 14-year-old British student Asiya replied, before excited chatter erupts between the two groups about their favorite “K-pop” performers.
“Did you hear their latest song? Do you like BlackPink?” said Tasnim, wearing a white hijab, as does Asiya in London.
More than half a million Palestinian refugee students attend 700 UNRWA schools across Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, the aid agency said.
UNRWA was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949 after thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes in the 1948 war that followed Israel’s creation.
“Even though we are worlds apart ... we’re all teenagers, so we found some common ground,” said Asiya, who volunteered to join the “My Voice, My School” project run by UNRWA and social enterprise Digital Explorer to learn more about refugees.
“It was quite ironic because we were on a conference call to people in Syria and we were talking about Korea.”
UNRWA says it currently supports 5.3 million Palestinians across the Middle East, including in Gaza and the West Bank.


Priyanka Chopra, soon to be Jonas? Either way, she’s got the rock

Updated 16 August 2018
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Priyanka Chopra, soon to be Jonas? Either way, she’s got the rock

  • Nick Jonas and Chopra were first seen together at the Met Gala in May 2017
  • Jonas, who was one third of the Jonas Brothers before he went solo, has already traveled to Mumbai to meet Chopra’s family

DUBAI: Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, who reportedly got engaged to American singer Nick Jonas on her birthday last month, is sporting what appears to be a sizeable rock on her ring finger to prove it.

The photo of the sparkler was impossible not to spot in group photos posted on Instagram on Wednesday by Sophie Choudry and in close-ups with Raveena Tandon, in which the “Quantico” star has wrapped her left hand with said rock around Tandon’s shoulder rather purposefully. 

Tandon, Chopra’s friend and fellow actress, wrote: “Peecee and I getting our pouts in order!” Could they be practicing for the wedding photos?

Dressed in a saffron yellow pantsuit, Chopra attended a party at designer Manish Malhotra’s residence Tuesday night with other Bollywood stars. An engagement party in Mumbai is rumored to be in the works for this weekend, where it’s expected the couple will make an announcement. 

Jonas, who was one third of the Jonas Brothers before he went solo, has already traveled to Mumbai to meet Chopra’s family. It will be a busy wedding season, as his older brother Joe is also engaged, to Sophie Turner, who plays Sensa Stark on “Game of Thrones.”

Jonas and Chopra were first seen together at the Met Gala in May 2017. Earlier this summer, she traveled to New Jersey to attend his cousin’s wedding in New Jersey. He reportedly shut down Tiffany & Co. in London to buy the ring in July.

It seems they’re well-suited: Both Jonas and Chopra do charity work. He and his brothers started Change for the Children Foundation to raise awareness about diabetes, a condition which he has, while she is a global goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and has the Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education. 

If all of this sounds like another couple whose nuptials were recently in the headlines, that’s no surprise. Chopra is the friend of Meghan Markle, and watched her and Prince Harry tie the knot in Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel in May. 

Chopra may have even been inspired by the royal wedding: “Every once in a while there is a moment when time stands still,” she wrote on her Instagram account. “You, my friend, were the epitome of grace, love and beauty… Thank you for being the perfect picture of all things good. Seeing your union and love blessed in front of my eyes made me so happy.”