Priyanka calls for more help for Rohingya children

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Priyanka Chopra visited the Hariakhali camp for Rohingya refugees. Below, at the weekend’s British royal wedding. Photos/social media
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Priyanka Chopra highlights plight of Rohingya refugee children in UNICEF visit to Bangladesh. Photo courtesy: Priyanka Chopra Instagram
Updated 23 May 2018
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Priyanka calls for more help for Rohingya children

  • Violence drove 700,000 Rohingya across the border into Bangladesh — 60% are children!”
  • Priyanka met children at Unchiprang camp, which is currently home to around 30,000 Rohingyas

DHAKA: Bollywood superstar and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra has been using the power of her fame to focus world leaders’ — and her fans’ — attention on the plight of Rohingya refugee children.
In a post on her official Instagram account, she wrote: “In the second half of 2017, the world saw horrific images of ethnic cleansing from the Rakhine State of Myanmar. This violence drove nearly 700,000 Rohingya across the border into Bangladesh — 60% are children!”
Priyanka, UNICEF global Goodwill Ambassador, has embarked on a four-day visit to Rohingya children in the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.  On Monday she reached Dhaka in her bid to witness the plight of Rohingya children with her own eyes and monitor conditions on the ground.
Priyanka’s field trip with UNICEF started early in the morning when she visited the Hariakhali camp of Teknaf subdistrict, in Cox’s Bazar – one of the main entry points for Rohingya refugees.  She spoke to Rohingya children, asking them about living conditions, what schooling they are receiving at the camps and whether they had had proper vaccinations.
“The world needs to care. We need to care. These kids are our future. Please lend your support at www.supportunicef.org,” Priyanka added in her Instagram post.
“She is here to raise global awareness of the issue of Rohingya refugee children,” said Benjamin Steinlechner, UNICEF spokesperson in Cox’s Bazar.  The UNICEF ambassador will return to Dhaka on Thursday after concluding her visit to the refugee camps, Steinlechner told Arab News.
On Tuesday, Priyanka met children at Unchiprang camp, which is currently home to around 30,000 Rohingyas.


US unveils action group to run policy on ‘malign’ Iran

Updated 21 min 29 sec ago
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US unveils action group to run policy on ‘malign’ Iran

  • Brian Hook led the Trump administration's unsuccessful attempt to negotiate changes to the Iran nuclear deal
  • Pompeo and other officials have denied that the administration is seeking to foment regime change in Iran

WASHINGTON/JEDDAH: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has named Brian Hook as the new 'special representative' for Iran, who will head up an 'Iran Action Group.'

Pompeo declared he is forming the dedicated group to coordinate and run US policy toward Iran as the Donald Trump administration moves ahead with efforts to force changes in the country's behavior after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.

Officials said the group will be headed by Brian Hook, who is currently the State Department's director of policy planning. Hook led the Trump administration's ultimately unsuccessful attempt to negotiate changes to the nuclear deal with European allies before the president decided in May to pull out of the accord.

Since withdrawing, the administration has re-imposed sanctions that were eased under the deal and has steadily ramped up pressure on Iran to try to get it to stop what it describes as "malign activities" in the region. 

In addition to its nuclear and missile programs, the administration has repeatedly criticized Iran for supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad, Shiite rebels in Yemen and anti-Israel groups. It has also in recent weeks stepped up criticism of Iran's human rights record and is working with other nations to curb their imports of Iranian oil.

The administration is warning Iran's oil customers that they will face US sanctions in November unless they significantly reduce their imports with an eye on eliminating them entirely. 

It has also told businesses and governments in Europe that they may also be subject to penalties if they violate, ignore or attempt to subvert the re-imposed US sanctions.

In his new job, Hook is to oversee implementation of the administration's entire Iran policy, the officials said. Pompeo and other officials have denied that the administration is seeking to foment regime change in Iran and maintain they only want to see the government change course. Pompeo created a similar group dedicated to working on North Korea policy while he was director of the CIA.

Hook is expected to be replaced as policy planning chief by Kiron Skinner, a foreign policy academic and adviser to several Republican presidential candidates who served on President Donald Trump's national security transition team and very briefly at the State Department after Trump took office, according to the officials who were not authorized to publicly discuss personnel matters and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, two leading German firms are the latest to pull out of projects in Iran as the sanctions take a toll on foreign investment. Rail operator Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Telekom said they would end their involvement because firms investing in Iran will be barred from doing business with the US. Oil firm Total, and carmakers PSA, Renault and Daimler have said they will also withdraw.

Harvard scholar and Iranian-affairs expert Majid Rafizadeh said the regime in Tehran is in deep trouble at home as the sanctions, which came into effect last week, are working.  

“More companies and firms are halting their business deals with Iran,” he said. “Foreign investors are also withdrawing. This is significant due to the fact that many foreign investors have invested billions of dollars in Iran’s debt market as Tehran’s economy is cash-strapped.

“On the surface, Iran’s leaders are brushing aside the sanctions as trivial, but Tehran is significantly wary as the sanctions are affecting its economy negatively. If the Iranian regime does not alter its destructive behavior, the sanctions will cripple its economy.”

The first wave of sanctions focuses on preventing Iran from purchasing US dollars and precious metals, and targeting the automotive and other sectors. A second wave in November will target energy, the main source of Iranian state revenues.

(With AP)