India’s last water men fight tide of history

India’s last water men fight tide of history
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In this photograph taken on April 28, 2017, Indian water carrier Shakeel Ahmad walks as he sells water from a goat skin canteen in New Delhi. Shakeel Ahmad wanders the cramped alleyways of Old Delhi offering water from a goat hide canteen slung over his shoulder, a centuries-old service welcomed by thirsty vendors toiling under the baking Indian sun. Ahmad is one of the last Bhishtis, a community of water carriers fading into history after generations of quenching thirsts in Delhi's old quarters. (AFP)
India’s last water men fight tide of history
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In this photograph taken on March 31, 2017, animal skins used by Indian water carrier Shakeel Ahmad to carry water hang on the wall at a well in New Delhi. Shakeel Ahmad wanders the cramped alleyways of Old Delhi offering water from a goat hide canteen slung over his shoulder, a centuries-old service welcomed by thirsty vendors toiling under the baking Indian sun. Ahmad is one of the last Bhishtis, a community of water carriers fading into history after generations of quenching thirsts in Delhi's old quarters. (AFP)
India’s last water men fight tide of history
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In this photograph taken on March 31, 2017, Indian water carrier Shakeel Ahmad fills up a goat hide canteen from a well in New Delhi. Shakeel Ahmad wanders the cramped alleyways of Old Delhi offering water from a goat hide canteen slung over his shoulder, a centuries-old service welcomed by thirsty vendors toiling under the baking Indian sun. Ahmad is one of the last Bhishtis, a community of water carriers fading into history after generations of quenching thirsts in Delhi's old quarters.(AFP)
India’s last water men fight tide of history
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In this photograph taken on March 31, 2017, Indian water carrier Shakeel Ahmad drinks tea as he prepares to deliver water to a customer in New Delhi. Shakeel Ahmad wanders the cramped alleyways of Old Delhi offering water from a goat hide canteen slung over his shoulder, a centuries-old service welcomed by thirsty vendors toiling under the baking Indian sun. Ahmad is one of the last Bhishtis, a community of water carriers fading into history after generations of quenching thirsts in Delhi's old quarters. (AFP)
Updated 11 May 2017

India’s last water men fight tide of history

India’s last water men fight tide of history

NEW DELHI: Shakeel Ahmad wanders the cramped alleyways of Old Delhi offering water from a goat hide canteen slung over his shoulder, a centuries-old service welcomed by thirsty vendors toiling under the baking Indian sun.
Ahmad is one of last Bhishtis, a community of water carriers fading into history after generations of quenching thirsts in Delhi’s old quarter.
Bhishtis have been supplying businesses, pilgrims and passersby with swigs from their swollen canteens since the Mughals ruled India, an era before piped water sounded the death knell for their trade.
“I spent my childhood doing this. My ancestors too spent theirs,” Ahmad told AFP at the footsteps of Jama Masjid, a towering mosque built at the height of the Mughal empire.
“Now I am the last. I’m not sure if my children, if the next generation, will do this or not.”
For centuries, Bhishtis have sourced water from an underground basin deep beneath the warrens and Mughal-era monuments of Old Delhi — a bustling quarter hidden away from the modern Indian capital that grew up around it.
Inside a small Sufi shrine, Ahmad — like countless Bhishtis before him — draws water from a deep well, filling his large goat skin canteen known as a mashaq to the very brim.
“The water in this well hasn’t stopped since it was dug,” said Ahmad, gesturing to the murky depths of the pit below.
“It dried up just once when construction began on the Delhi metro... But then it just came back on its own.”
It is back-breaking work hauling a full mashaq around the crowded, cobbled streets in the blistering Indian summer, where daytime temperatures regularly exceed 40 degrees celsius.
A full canteen carries roughly 30 liters — enough to earn a Bhishti a mere 30 rupees ($0.50), a pittance for the hard labor involved.
“My children will find it difficult to do this job. I am the last (of my family),” Ahmad said.
The advent of piped water, and cheap bottled options, has decimated their business, but there’s still a handful calling out for Ahmad as he treads the lanes with his dripping flagon.
Old shopkeepers, parched in the midday sun, cup their hands for a mouthful of water, while street vendors have him fill cooling units and drink buckets to ward off the worst of the heat.
Problems with the piped water supply — not an unusual occurrence in the creaky old neighborhood — is a godsend for Ahmad, even if a nuisance for everyone else.
“When they have their regular supply, no one bothers to call,” Ahmad said.
Business may not be booming but tourists and pilgrims still double take when they see the elderly Bhishti in his white Muslim tunic and prayer cap carting his water skin, a flashback to a bygone era.
“Many people are amazed to see that this profession still exists... that something from the time of the kings still exists. They are surprised and happy to see us,” he said.


International Camel Organization announces North American association

International Camel Organization announces North American association
Updated 17 June 2021

International Camel Organization announces North American association

International Camel Organization announces North American association
  • Decision comes amid growth in camel ranches in the US

RIYADH: The International Camel Organization (ICO) announced on Thursday the establishment of the North American Camel Ranch Owners Association (NACROA) in the US.

Sheikh Fahd bin Falah bin Hithleen, the ICO’s founder and president, said the step was part of efforts to develop the camel sector.

It follows the setting up of the European Camel Ranch Owners Association in 2019.

 

 

The owners of camel ranches in America decided last year to unify their efforts in developing the camel sector through the ICO.

Aaron Scott Wendell, president of the association, said the increasing number of camel ranches in the US prompted them to establish the association.

He thanked Sheikh Fahd for his efforts and encouragement to establish the association.

His work will be reflected in the development of various aspects in the economic, cultural, medical and sports activities of camels, Wendell said.

Founded by Sheikh Fahd in March 2019, the ICO is a non-profit organization based in Riyadh. Currently it includes about 105 member countries from all continents and aims to develop and serve everything related to camels as a heritage.


Saudi chain ALBAIK opens in Dubai

Saudi chain ALBAIK opens in Dubai
Updated 17 June 2021

Saudi chain ALBAIK opens in Dubai

Saudi chain ALBAIK opens in Dubai
  • ALBAIK was established in Jeddah in 1974 and has grown to more than 120 branches

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s famous fast-food chain ALBAIK opened their first branch in Dubai Mall on Wednesday, bringing its range of dishes to the UAE for the first time.

Following the opening of three branches in Bahrain at the end of 2020, ALBAIK was encouraged to open in Dubai. The new 355-square-meter restaurant will serve a wide array of chicken and seafood, grilled dishes, and vegetarian options.

ALBAIK was established in Jeddah in 1974 and has grown to more than 120 branches throughout Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Listed by CNN as one of the best eight fast-food chains around the world. ALBAIK has developed a community of fanatics across Saudi Arabia.


Billionaire admits cheating to beat Indian chess champ Viswanathan Anand

Billionaire admits cheating to beat Indian chess champ Viswanathan Anand
Updated 15 June 2021

Billionaire admits cheating to beat Indian chess champ Viswanathan Anand

Billionaire admits cheating to beat Indian chess champ Viswanathan Anand
  • Online brokerage firm founder Nikhil Kamath admitted to using “computers” to gain the upper hand

NEW DELHI: A young Indian billionaire has admitted to cheating in a shock win over five-time chess world champion Viswanathan Anand, saying it was for “fun and charity.”
Online brokerage firm founder Nikhil Kamath took on Anand during an online charity event on Sunday and caused quite a stir when he came out on top in a 30-minute rapid game.
The next day he admitted to using “computers” and the help of “people analyzing the game” to gain the upper hand.
“It is ridiculous that so many are thinking that I really beat Vishy sir in a chess game, that is almost like me waking up and winning a 100mt race with Usain Bolt,” Kamath tweeted.
“In hindsight, it was quite silly as I didn’t realize all the confusion that can get caused due to this. Apologies.”
Anand, acclaimed as the greatest player India has produced, played — and beat — a number of celebrity guests including cricketer Yuzvendra Chahal and Bollywood actor Aamir Khan during the event.
The 51-year-old grandmaster appeared to play down the whole affair.
“Yesterday was a celebrity simul for people to raise money It was a fun experience upholding the ethics of the game,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I just played the position (on the) board and expected the same from everyone.”
India’s chess federation saw the incident as violating the spirit of the game.
“We don’t expect anybody to get help from computers, at the national and state level we are following the protocols,” the federation’s secretary Bharat Chauhan told local media.
“(Kamath) was doing it for charity, he shouldn’t have done. This is really bad,” he added.
Anand won his first world title aged 30, and enjoyed great rivalries with the likes of Russian champions Gary Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and Soviet-born Israeli Boris Gelfand.


Joe Biden confuses Syria with Libya repeatedly at G7

Joe Biden confuses Syria with Libya repeatedly at G7
Updated 15 June 2021

Joe Biden confuses Syria with Libya repeatedly at G7

Joe Biden confuses Syria with Libya repeatedly at G7

DUBAI: US President Joe Biden appeared to confuse Syria with Libya while speaking at a G7 press conference where he was discussing ways of working with Russia.

The US president was discussing how he might work with Russian President Vladimir Putin to provide aid to countries torn apart by civil war. 

He then briefly mixed up the two nations, which resulted in several confused glances at the press. 

“And so, there’s a lot going on where we can work together with Russia. For example, in Libya, we should be opening up the passes to be able to go through and provide — provide food assistance and economic — I mean, vital assistance to a population that’s in real trouble.”

“And, for example, the rebuilding of — of Syria, of Libya, of — you know, this is — they’re there. And as long as they’re there without the ability to bring about some order in the — in the region, and you can’t do that very well without providing for the basic economic needs of people,” he further said.

White House officials later clarified the confusion and confirmed that the US President was referring to Syria in his speech. 


Jill Biden, Duchess of Cambridge learn bunny care on tour

Jill Biden, Duchess of Cambridge learn bunny care on tour
Updated 11 June 2021

Jill Biden, Duchess of Cambridge learn bunny care on tour

Jill Biden, Duchess of Cambridge learn bunny care on tour
  • Biden and the former Kate Middleton visited with 4- and 5-year-olds who attend Connor Downs Academy in Hayle
  • “It’s a huge honor to have you in the United Kingdom,” the duchess said just before the discussion

HAYLE, England: US first lady Jill Biden and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, learned about bunny care Friday as they toured a preschool during a joint outing in southwest England.
They also took part in a talk about early childhood education with experts from the UK and some from the United States who joined the discussion via Zoom.
“It’s a huge honor to have you in the United Kingdom,” the duchess said just before the discussion. She thanked Biden — a longtime English teacher — for her interest in early education, also a topic of interest for the duchess, who has three young children with husband Prince William.


Biden, 70, and the former Kate Middleton, 39, visited with 4- and 5-year-olds who attend Connor Downs Academy in Hayle. The school works with children who have experienced trauma. It also has outdoor classrooms where children plant vegetables and flowers and tend to rabbits.
Biden carried a bowl of carrots when the women went outside to see Storm, one of several bunnies housed in pens, and handed the bowl to a group of kids so they could feed him.
Before the indoor roundtable, Biden said she was glad to visit the school.
“I met some wonderful teachers and principals and most of all the children, who were so inspiring and well behaved,” the first lady said. “I couldn’t get over it.”
She is traveling with her husband, President Joe Biden, who is attending a Group of Seven summit of leaders from the world’s largest economies that opened Friday in Carbis Bay.
She thanked the news media for covering the appearance “because early childhood education is so important to lay the foundation for all of our students.”


Both women took notes during the discussion, which centered on child mental health and the importance of early education in childhood development.
As they departed, reporters asked Biden if she had sought advice from the duchess on meeting Queen Elizabeth II, which the Bidens are set to do at a summit reception later Friday, followed by tea with the monarch on Sunday at Windsor Castle.
“No, I didn’t,” the first lady replied. “We’ve been busy. Were you not in that room. We were talking education.”
Jill Biden is scheduled to head back to Washington after meeting the queen, while the president continues on to Brussels for a NATO summit and to Switzerland for a highly anticipated one-on-one summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.