WWE stars soften up to Jeddah children to introduce anti-bullying campaign

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WWE stars sat down in front of 30 students from the Al-Oula institution. (WWE/General Sport Authority of Saudi Arabia)
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WWE stars sat down in front of 30 students from the Al-Oula institution. (WWE/General Sport Authority of Saudi Arabia)
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WWE stars sat down in front of 30 students from the Al-Oula institution. (WWE/General Sport Authority of Saudi Arabia)
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WWE stars sat down in front of 30 students from the Al-Oula institution. (WWE/General Sport Authority of Saudi Arabia)
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WWE stars sat down in front of 30 students from the Al-Oula institution. (WWE/General Sport Authority of Saudi Arabia)
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WWE stars sat down in front of 30 students from the Al-Oula institution. (WWE/General Sport Authority of Saudi Arabia)
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WWE stars sat down in front of 30 students from the Al-Oula institution. (WWE/General Sport Authority of Saudi Arabia)
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WWE stars sat down in front of 30 students from the Al-Oula institution. (WWE/General Sport Authority of Saudi Arabia)
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WWE stars sat down in front of 30 students from the Al-Oula institution. (WWE/General Sport Authority of Saudi Arabia)
Updated 26 April 2018
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WWE stars soften up to Jeddah children to introduce anti-bullying campaign

  • Al-Oula is a non-profit organization targeted to break the cycle of poverty
  • WWE stars sat down in front of 30 students from the institution

JEDDAH: The children of Al-Oula –- a non-profit organization targeted to break the cycle of poverty –- had the most thrilling school trip as they came to see World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstars Mojo Rawley and Mark Henry in King Abdullah stadium on Tuesday.
The stars sat down in front of 30 students from the institution and softened up as they shared stories from their childhood and introduced their anti-bullying campaign “Be a Star.”
The stars shared personal stories and the difficulties they have faced.
Dean Muhtadi, 31, better known by his ring name Mojo Rawley, told the children: “We are different in many ways but sometimes you have to focus on the similarities and positive aspects of others.”
Mark Henry, 46, opened up about his past: “When I was young people would call me names and were mean to me, so I decided to become the strongest person in the world.
“I won three world championships in three different world countries that had nothing to do with each other and I am very proud of myself for not letting the mean comments get to my head.”
Henry was world heavyweight champion, and is also a two-time Olympian and a gold medalist at the Pan American Games.
Later the children had the chance to talk directly with the stars. Rawley is originally Palestinian, so he spoke in Arabic with some of the children.
Henry told one of the students: “If someone is troubling you, don’t give them the satisfaction of letting the comments or actions affect you, and immediately tell your teacher or your parents or any adult, and they will help you through your problems.”
The children then took pictures and were given tickets to the WWE Royal Rumble show on Friday.
“Jeddah is a very family-friendly and a culture-loving city, so I love being here,” Henry told Arab News. “The only difference is the language. Apart from that everyone is very nice and warm.”
On the Royal Rumble, he said: “Get ready for the best entertainment you have ever seen with your own eyes.”
“For someone who comes from an Arab background, this is a historic achievement and it will be remembered for ever,” Rawley said in an interview with Arab News.
“When I first found out that we agreed to a ten-year partnership, it was the coolest thing to find out.
“I am very fortunate to be a part of this long-term partnership which will give the citizens a long time to understand and give us enough time to develop our brand here in Saudi Arabia.
“Last year the show in Riyadh was a small, non-televised show but it was one of the coolest experiences of my life, so I am very excited to perform in this grand-scale show. It’s going to be an amazing show. It will rival Wrestle Mania, which is the biggest event of the year.”
Jana Marwan, a nine-year-old student, said: “Everyone told us that the wrestlers were scary but they weren’t. In fact they were very friendly. They taught us how to look out for ourselves and I had so much fun. I am thankful to them.”


World Cup fever causes sleepless nights for Bangladesh flagmakers

Updated 22 min 37 sec ago
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World Cup fever causes sleepless nights for Bangladesh flagmakers

  • Bangladesh is traditionally cricket territory, but every four years the country of 160 million people goes World Cup crazy
  • The impoverished country first saw live World Cup matches in 1982

MERAJNAGAR, Bangladesh: Flagmakers in Bangladesh are doing a roaring trade weeks ahead of the World Cup, but no-one is interested in the home nation’s colors — the money is all on pennants for Lionel Messi’s Argentina and Neymar’s Brazil.
Hossain owns one of scores of small, hot, sweaty workshops in the Merajnagar district of capital Dhaka, working flat-out to produce flags and pennants for the local market ahead of the tournament in Russia.
“For the last two months I have been working non-stop,” said Hossain.
“There are days when I do not even get two hours of sleep,” added the 40-year-old, barely lifting his head from his screen-printing machine.
Bangladesh is traditionally cricket territory, but every four years the country of 160 million people — whose national team is ranked 197th out of 202 in the world by FIFA — goes World Cup crazy.
Flags in the colors of Argentina and Brazil take over the streets, and printers in Merajnagar are expecting to produce hundreds of thousands before the tournament starts in Moscow on June 14.
Homes have been converted into makeshift printing and sewing plants as orders pour in from across the country.
“Every day we’re printing and making thousands of flags. Today we’ve already printed 11,000 Argentina pennants,” said Hossain.
Fans across Bangladesh hold flag-waving processions to honor their favorite team. Last week, a video of supporters marching with a 200-meter-long Argentina flag in the northwestern town of Madarganj went viral on social media.
The impoverished country first saw live World Cup matches in 1982.
But it was the 1986 tournament, when Diego Maradona single-handedly helped Argentina win the trophy, that cemented football into the Bangladesh psyche — along with a new favorite team.
“The craze for Argentina is still going strong, Maradona is gone but Messi is the new superstar,” said Faruq Mia, a flag hawker who came from neighboring Narayanganj district to stock up.
Mia bought 500 flags last week, made a big profit and so needs 500 more. He will be cheering for Argentina.
Factory owner Selim Howlader expects to sell several hundred thousand flags as “World Cup fever came early in the country, months before kickoff.”
“In 2014, I sold more than 80,000 flags. Most of them were sold during the World Cup or just days before kickoff. Now I am selling 2,000-2,500 big flags and 10,000 pennants a day and the World Cup is still weeks away,” said the happy 33-year-old businessman.
Howlader employs 25 workers and said about 2,000 people in all are working in Merajnagar’s flag factories.
Messi and Neymar’s teams dominate by far Howlader’s order list. “Argentina and Brazil are the two most popular teams in Bangladesh,” he said.
“I have even got orders to make 50-foot long Argentine flags. These two teams have the most supporters in our country. Germany, Spain and Portugal are the other popular teams.”
Some four million people work in Bangladesh’s 4,500 apparel factories, who provide billions of dollars worth of clothes to top retailers around the world.
But experts and rights groups say that while there has been progress in improving conditions for garment workers in the country, they still often face long hours, dangerous working environments and dismally low pay.
The flag boom means extra income for poor workers like Nargis Akhter, 28, and her husband Mohammad Iqbal who work in Howlader’s factory.
“On an average every day we make 3,000 takas ($35),” said Iqbal. An average garment factory pays about $70 for an entire month’s work — among the world’s lowest wages for such a job.
“I wish the craze for flags would go on for many more months,” said Akhter, with a smile.