Indonesia’s alms agency collaborates with KSrelief to distribute Ramadan food packages

Indonesia’s alms agency collaborates with KSrelief to distribute Ramadan food packages
Ramadan food packages from Indonesia’s national alms agency and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center reaches residents in East Jakarta on March 5, 2024. (BAZNAS)
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Updated 06 March 2024
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Indonesia’s alms agency collaborates with KSrelief to distribute Ramadan food packages

Indonesia’s alms agency collaborates with KSrelief to distribute Ramadan food packages
  • About 26 million Indonesians live below the national poverty line
  • BAZNAS, KSrelief began to distribute more than 7,000 food packages this week

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s national alms agency and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center have begun to distribute thousands of food packages across dozens of Indonesian cities and districts as part of their humanitarian cooperation to welcome the month of Ramadan.
BAZNAS, a government agency responsible for zakat and other Islamic social funds in Indonesia, is in its third year partnering with KSrelief to support Indonesians in need with food aid.
The two organizations began distributing 7,695 Ramadan food packages on Tuesday, with the program scheduled to wrap up on March 24.
“Together with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through KSrelief, we are united in our care to reach those who need our support,” BAZNAS chairman Noor Achmad said during the launch ceremony in Jakarta.
“By distributing these packages to 7,965 families, we are not only giving them food or essential goods, but also hope, love and warmth in each of the packages.”
The packages will be distributed across 36 Indonesian cities and districts in the provinces of Banten, DKI Jakarta, West Java and Central Java.
They comprise staple food items, including rice, flour, cooking oil and sugar, to help the recipients prepare for fasting during Ramadan.
“We hope that this aid can lessen the recipients’ burden and can be used to fulfill their staple needs during Ramadan,” Achmad said.
Nearly 10 percent of the Indonesian population, or about 26 million people, live below the national poverty line.
One of the first batches of aid was delivered on Tuesday to poor families in Pemulung Village in East Jakarta, where the majority of residents work with second-hand items and as small traders.
“Praise be to God that we are receiving this aid from BAZNAS and KSrelief,” said Sriami, an elderly resident in the village.
“We will use it for our daily meals and later during the fasting month. May everything go well and smoothly and under the protection of Allah.”


US warns of China-Russia cooperation in Arctic

US warns of China-Russia cooperation in Arctic
Updated 10 sec ago
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US warns of China-Russia cooperation in Arctic

US warns of China-Russia cooperation in Arctic
WASHINGTON: The US Defense Department warned Monday of increasing Russian-Chinese collaboration in the Arctic, as climate change opens the region to greater competition over maritime routes and resources.
“We’ve seen growing cooperation between the PRC and Russia in the Arctic commercially, with the PRC being a major funder of Russian energy exploitation in the Arctic,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks told journalists, using an abbreviation for the People’s Republic of China.
There is also growing military cooperation, “with Russia and China conducting joint exercises off the coast of Alaska,” Hicks said as the department released its 2024 Arctic strategy.
“All of these challenges have been amplified because the effects of climate change are rapidly warming temperatures and thinning ice coverage, and it’s enabling all of this activity,” she said.
The Arctic strategy describes it as “a strategically important region” for the United States that includes “the northern approaches to the homeland” and “significant US defense infrastructure.”
Russia has in recent years beefed up its military presence in the Arctic by reopening and modernizing several bases and airfields abandoned since the end of the Soviet era, while China has poured money into polar exploration and research.
The rapid melting of polar ice has sent activity in the inhospitable region into overdrive as nations eye newly viable oil, gas and mineral deposits as well as shipping routes in an area with a complex web of competing territorial claims.
“The Arctic may experience its first practically ice-free summer by 2030, and the loss of sea ice will increase the viability of Arctic maritime transit routes and access to undersea resources,” the Arctic strategy says.
“Increases in human activity will elevate the risk of accidents, miscalculation, and environmental degradation,” and US forces “must be ready and equipped to mitigate the risks associated with potential contingencies in the Arctic.”
China later defended its Arctic policy and said it acts on the “principles of respect, cooperation, mutual wins and sustainability,” adding it was “committed to maintaining peace and stability” in the region.
“The United States distorts China’s Arctic policy and makes thoughtless remarks on China’s normal Arctic activities (which are) in accordance with international law,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said.

Violence against women and girls in UK a ‘national emergency’: police

Violence against women and girls in UK a ‘national emergency’: police
Updated 14 min 29 sec ago
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Violence against women and girls in UK a ‘national emergency’: police

Violence against women and girls in UK a ‘national emergency’: police

LONDON: Violence against women and girls in England and Wales is a “national emergency” with almost 3,000 offenses recorded daily, police warned in a new report published on Tuesday.
The study, commissioned by two law enforcement bodies, estimates that at least one in every 12 women will be a victim every year, with the exact number expected to be much higher.
“Violence against women and girls is a national emergency,” senior police chief Maggie Blyth said in comments accompanying the report.
The study found that more than one million violent crimes against women and girls were recorded by police in 2022-2023.
They accounted for just under a fifth of all police-recorded crime excluding fraud in England and Wales between April 2022 and March 2023.
The report said violence against women and girls had increased 37 percent between 2018-2019 and last year, with domestic abuse being one of the biggest demands on policing.
One in 20 adults in England and Wales, or 2.3 million people, will be perpetrators of crimes against women and girls annually, the study added.
“These are cautious estimates as we know much crime goes unreported and in policing, we often only see the tip of the iceberg,” Blyth said.
She warned that violence against females in the two countries had “reached epidemic levels” and called for government intervention in the “overwhelmed” criminal justice system.
Child sexual abuse and exploitation offenses meanwhile jumped by 435 percent between 2013 and 2022, the report estimated — from just over 20,000 to nearly 107,000.
Offenders are getting younger, with the average age of a suspect now 15, it said.
The report said stalking and harassment accounted for 85 percent of online-related offenses.
Britain’s interior ministry declared violence against women and girls a national threat to public safety in February last year.
More than 4,500 new officers have been trained to investigate rape and serious sexual offenses over the last year, with the report detailing a 38-percent increase in charges for adult rape from the year ending December 2022 to the year ending December 2023.
 


Death toll from Ethiopia landslide rises to 146: local official

Death toll from Ethiopia landslide rises to 146: local official
Updated 22 min 46 sec ago
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Death toll from Ethiopia landslide rises to 146: local official

Death toll from Ethiopia landslide rises to 146: local official

ADDIS ABABA: The death toll from a landslide in southern Ethiopia has risen to at least 146, a local official said Tuesday, warning the number could rise.
“The number of dead from the sudden landslide that happened in Geze-Gofa district of Gofa zone has passed 146,” a statement from the Gofa zone Communications Affairs Department said, quoting local official Habtamu Fetena, who warned “the number of dead could increase.”


Russia and Iran finish preparing comprehensive cooperation agreement, TASS reports

Russia and Iran finish preparing comprehensive cooperation agreement, TASS reports
Updated 23 July 2024
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Russia and Iran finish preparing comprehensive cooperation agreement, TASS reports

Russia and Iran finish preparing comprehensive cooperation agreement, TASS reports

MOSCOW: Russia and Iran have completed the preparation of a comprehensive cooperation agreement, the state-run TASS news agency reported on Tuesday, citing the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The agreement will be signed soon, TASS said.


Macron’s political gamble casts shadow over Paris Olympics

Macron’s political gamble casts shadow over Paris Olympics
Updated 23 July 2024
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Macron’s political gamble casts shadow over Paris Olympics

Macron’s political gamble casts shadow over Paris Olympics
  • As he prepares to welcome more than 100 heads of state and tens of thousands of spectators for Friday’s opening ceremony along the Seine, Macron is a fragile force

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron hoped the Paris Olympics would cement his legacy. But a failed bet on a snap legislative election has left him politically stunted, casting a lingering shadow over Macron’s moment on the international stage.
As he prepares to welcome more than 100 heads of state and tens of thousands of spectators for Friday’s opening ceremony along the Seine, Macron is a fragile force — an unpopular president presiding over a caretaker government as it hosts the world’s largest sporting event amid heightened security fears.
“Macron expected to welcome the Games like an emperor,” said French historian Patrick Weil. “But now he’s a lame duck.”
Walking around the Olympic Village on Monday, Macron defended his decision to dissolve parliament and denied the ensuing political instability would overshadow the Games.
“It was me who decided,” he said, referring to his determination to call the election ahead of the Games.
“There is no bitter taste. On the contrary, we did the things that needed to be done before (the Olympics). Now we can fully focus on the Games.”
And in a bid to keep the crisis at bay for a few weeks, he appeared to suggest he was unlikely to name a prime minister until the Games were over.
“There is a sort of truce,” he said.
Macron called the legislative vote after a thumping by the far-right National Rally (RN) in last month’s EU election, saying he wanted the poll to provide clarity.
Instead, French voters delivered a hung parliament and no bloc has so far been able to form a government, leaving Macron’s previous cabinet to manage day-to-day affairs in a caretaker capacity.
“The Olympics are a great break, an extraordinary moment, a brilliant showcase for our country,” said far-right lawmaker Julien Odoul. “But the difficulties of our compatriots continue despite the Olympic Games. And this National Assembly is currently not in a position to provide a response.”
Macron aides, Olympics officials, lawmakers and public figures stressed to Reuters that the show would go on, with years of security and logistics planning unaffected by the politics. But some acknowledged the fallout from the political crisis would hang over the Games.
Socialist lawmaker Christine Pires-Beaune said Macron’s expedited vote had left many French bewildered and angry.
“We have never been in such a thick fog,” she said.
It was not supposed to be this way.
In his New Year’s Eve address to the nation last December, Macron spoke with pride and optimism about the year ahead.
“Only once in a century does one host the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” he said. “2024 will be a year of determination, of choices and of regeneration.”
But more than six months later, Macron’s hopes of regenerating his mandate have evaporated, while the political crisis provoked by his quickfire election has also contributed to weaker-than-expected tourist appetite for the Games.
Flight and hotel bookings to Paris during the Olympics have come in lower than expected, Reuters reported earlier this month, with experts pointing the finger at high travel and accommodation costs, security fears — and political tumult.
The ceaseless drama of the US election — which has so far included an assassination attempt against Republican candidate Donald Trump and President Joe Biden dropping out of the race — has also lured eyeballs away from Macron’s flagship event.
At the Olympic Village on Monday, Macron shook hands with volunteers, wearing a confident smile.
“We are ready,” the president told police officers before thanking Olympic Village staff for their work.
French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera acknowledged that the last few weeks had been “difficult politically.”
But she rejected the idea that the political crisis had stained the Games. She said France could breathe a sigh of relief that the far-right had not won enough seats to form a government, as some polls had projected.
“I think that the Games will allow the country to come together more than ever this summer,” she told Reuters.
Arielle Dombasle, a US-born French singer and actor, recently set social media alight with her performance of a stomping, operatic Olympic number at Paris City Hall, in which she was dressed in a white, hooped, floor-length skirt and peroxide wig.
“There is a terrible bashing among the French of the Olympics, which are nevertheless an astonishing international gathering of the most extraordinary human specimens: the man who jumps the highest, the woman who swims the fastest,” she said.
“There is an atmosphere of anxiety. The world is in disorder, to say the least. But these Games are the occasion for the greatest celebrations.”