Hollywood star Will Smith brings down curtain on Russia World Cup

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US singer Will Smith (R), Kosovo's singer Era Istrefi (L) and US rapper Nick Rivera Caminero aka Nicky Jam (C) perform during the closing ceremony prior to the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018. (AFP)
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Singer Will Smith performs during Russia's World Cup closing ceremony. (Reuters)
Updated 15 July 2018
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Hollywood star Will Smith brings down curtain on Russia World Cup

  • Smith performed at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium

MOSCOW: Hollywood actor and singer Will Smith performed the soccer World Cup’s official song “Live It Up” in the tournament’s closing ceremony in Moscow on Sunday.
As Smith performed at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, giant screens laid out on the pitch showed images of soccer players and the colors of the Croatian and French flags — the two teams who face each other in the final.
Smith was joined on stage by Nicky Jam, a US-born singer with Puerto Rican roots, and by Era Istrefi, a pop singer who describes herself as Albanian Kosovar. Both artists had featured with Smith on the “Live It Up” single.
In the final sequence of the ceremony, Russian opera singer Aida Garifullina performed Russian folk song “Kalinka” accompanied by bagpipes, a children’s choir, and a percussion section.
That section featured a guest performer: Brazilian soccer star and past World Cup winner Ronaldinho, who for a few bars of the song hammered out the rhythm on an African drum.
The performances were a prelude to France and Croatia’s players taking to the pitch to begin their final match, in front of a packed crowd at the 80,000-seat stadium.


Meet the woman who reunites Syrian pets with their refugee owners

Updated 53 min 19 sec ago
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Meet the woman who reunites Syrian pets with their refugee owners

  • The woman has helped transport 400 cats and 15 dogs into Europe
  • The foundation was featured in a Netflix documentary called Dogs

A Syrian refugee in the Netherlands has revealed how she is helping reunite stranded pets in war-torn Syria with their owners abroad, London daily The Metro said Sunday.

Animals Syria is a non-profit foundation that helps save the lives of pets in Syria and reunites them with their owners overseas, and is run by Rawaa Kilani and her friend Irma.

Kilani said before she fled Syria in 2016, she found an injured cat, that she named Lucy, and nursed back to health.

After fleeing to the Netherlands, she was approached by a woman named Irma, who had an unusual request which inevitably led to the creation of the foundation, Animals Syria.

Irma said she wanted to adopt a paralyzed animal, and asked Kilani to let her take Lucy.

Since then, Kilani and Irma have enabled the transportation of 400 cats and 15 dogs to Europe, and another 44 dogs to the US. Animals Syria also rescued some birds, foxes, a monkey and even a donkey.

Kilani said people who are fleeing Syria are usually unable to take their pets with them, because most of them are escaping the war on boats. So, they entrust their loved ones with their pets or leave them at foster homes.

After the owners settle in their new asylums, Animals Syria helps reunite owners with their pets by organizing the medical procedures and documents required for the transportation. Kilani says the process of vaccinating, micro-chipping and preparing the paperwork might sometimes require up to four months.

Most of the work of the foundation is done by Kilani and Bashir, who is based in Syria. Two volunteers help Syria Animals by feeding strays in Syria and two of her friends provide foster homes while the trips are arranged.

The foundation even starred in a Netflix documentary, Dogs, showing how they helped a dog, Zeus, reunite with his owner in Germany.

Kilani’s foundation focuses on disabled animals now, as they have lower chances of surviving in Syria.

When they just started, most of the expenses were covered by Kilani and Irma. Now, the foundation relies on donations, which are usually small and insufficient.

Animals Syria have a Facebook page, where they post stories of rescued animals and offer links for donations.