Two lions saved from Mideast wars head to South Africa refuge

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A lion named Simba, who was rescued from Iraq by the animal rights group Four Paws, is prepared for his departure from the Al-Ma’wa Animal Sanctuary near Souf, in northern Jordan. (AP)
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A lion named Saeed, who was rescued from Syria by the animal rights group Four Paws, is prepared for his departure from the Al-Ma’wa Animal Sanctuary near Souf, in northern Jordan. (AP)
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Two African lions rescued from war-torn Iraq and Syria are being transported to a permanent home in South Africa, after an interim stay in Jordan where they recuperated from physical and psychological trauma. (AP)
Updated 25 February 2018
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Two lions saved from Mideast wars head to South Africa refuge

SOUF, Jordan: Two African lions rescued from war zones in Iraq and Syria are heading to a permanent home in South Africa, after resting in Jordan where they recuperated from physical and psychological trauma.
The lions were coaxed with mouthfuls of meat into metal crates Sunday before being loaded into a cargo truck taking them to Jordan’s international airport.
The animal rights group Four Paws International rescued Saeed and Simba in daring warzone operations in 2017 from Magic World outside in Syria’s Aleppo and the Mosul zoo in Iraq.
Most animals in those zoos had died during the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
The two lions arrived emaciated, dehydrated and psychologically scarred at the Al-Ma’wa Animal Sanctuary in Jordan last year.
They received medical care including vasectomies and dental work. They gained weight on a steady diet — with lamb meat saved for special treats.
Two-year-old Saeed now approaches people for head scratches and plays with his lead trainer Saif Rwashdeh.
“He’ll run up into the crate even if there’s no meat, then run out, then run back,” he said.
Rwashdeh is traveling with the lions to Johannesburg, South Africa via Doha, Qatar. He’ll be staying with them for two weeks to help the pair adjust to the South African sanctuary of Lions Rock, home to wild game and over 90 big cats.
“He’s a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, he loves the interaction,” said Diana Bernas, head animal keeper at Al-Ma’wa, as she scratched Saeed, his eyes closed and smug, leaned into her fingers. “He’s a perfect lion.”
The young lions are at an age ripe for socialization and need interaction with larger groups of lions, Bernas said.
“It is bittersweet but we knew he was only going to be here temporarily so we are happy he’s going to the African sun.”


Nicki Minaj shows off her quad biking skills in the UAE

Nicki Minaj recently released a new album. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2018
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Nicki Minaj shows off her quad biking skills in the UAE

  • Nicki Minaj just hit the sand dunes in Abu Dhabi
  • She was just in Milan attending Fashion Week

DUBAI: Pop superstar Nicki Minaj just hit the sand dunes in Abu Dhabi and posted a string of photos on Instagram to show off her skills.

“Ride wit Minaj (sic),” the rapper-singer captioned a snap on the social media site, showing her astride a dune buggy in the desert.

She also posted a video in which she can be seen speeding through the desert with her loose hair streaming in the wind. Earlier in the evening, she posted a video in which she runs along a beach in the UAE at night and talks in a British accent, saying she wants her fans to “see the water.”

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Ride wit Minaj

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Before her trip to the Gulf country, Minaj sat front row at the Versace show at Milan Fashion Week.

She sat alongside Leona Lewis, Rita Ora, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, actor Luke Evans and Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni in an enormous industrial space in the modern CityLife neighborhood where the runway show was held, according to Reuters.

“I’m so proud of you @donatella_versace You’ve never missed a beat. So tiny, but so powerful,” Minaj posted after the runway show.

“Loved the show tonight. Thank you for my gorgeous flowers & for playing like 75 percent of the Queen album at the show,” she added, referencing fourth studio album, which was released in August to mixed reviews.

Minaj also took a front row seat at the Fendi show in Milan, taking a turn for fans on her way in decked out in a Fendi puffer jacket and matching leggings and cropped top.

Other front-row celebs included Ferragni with her rapper husband Fedez, leaving home their much-Instagrammed infant, Leone, but trailing television cameras as they toured backstage.

While the front-row celebrity attire was highly branded Fendi streetwear, the runway collection by Karl Lagerfeld was more elegant and subtle, the Associated Press noted.

The artist is fresh off a bout of controversy involving US rapper Cardi B, who infamously tried to attack Minaj during a scuffle at a party held on the sidelines of New York Fashion Week earlier in September.

Minaj and Cardi B were the center of attention as A-list guests reportedly huddled around their phones to watch footage of the fracas.
A person who witnessed the incident, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said Minaj was finishing up a conversation with someone when Cardi B tried to attack her, but Minaj’s security guards intervened, the Associated Press reported.
Video footage that circulated on social media at the time showed Cardi B lunging toward someone and being held back. Cardi B reportedly threw one of her shoes at Minaj.

Here’s to hoping Minaj has a more enjoyable time in the UAE.