• Arab News

    Philippines to deploy 'hijab troopers' nationwide

    MANILA: Hijab-clad female soldiers are to be deployed throughout the Philippines as part of a major counterterrorism initiative. The so-called “hijab troopers” will provide vital support to communities traumatized by war. Their placement in key areas across the country follows the success of their deployment during the Marawi siege last year, when Daesh-inspired local terrorists seized the city. Army Col. Romeo Brawner Jr. said the troopers have been trained in preventing and countering violent extremism. “Because of their success in Marawi, it's believed that they'll also be effective in other places,” he told Arab News. “They'll provide cultural and psychosocial services in urban communities.”

  • Arab News

    Meghan Markle’s father appeals to British queen over rift with daughter

    LONDON: Meghan Markle’s father directly appealed to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth on Monday to intercede and end his estrangement from his daughter, the wife of Prince Harry. Former US actress Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex, married Harry, the queen’s grandson and sixth-in-line to the throne, in a glittering ceremony at Windsor Castle in May. But the immediate build-up to the wedding was overshadowed by her father, Thomas, a former lighting director for US TV soaps and sitcoms, who pulled out days beforehand after undergoing heart surgery. Meghan’s father said he had not had contact with his daughter for months and repeated text messages to Meghan had gone unanswered. When asked what message he

  • english.alarabiya.net

    Miss Philippines wins 2018 Miss Universe crown

    Miss Philippines was crowned Miss Universe on Monday in Bangkok after a trailblazing ceremony. Catriona Gray, 24, finished first ahead of the South African and Venezuelan finalists in the glittering televised event hosted by American comic turned TV host Steve Harvey and supermodel Ashley Graham. Gray -- a student of music theory -- beat more than 90 contestants from around the globe in the 67th instalment of Miss Universe, which was held in the Thai capital's Impact Arena. This year's event drew positive feedback for themes of inclusivity and an all-women panel of judges made up of business leaders and former Miss Universe titleholders.

  • Al Jazeera

    Saudi king extends allowances as biggest budget ever is announced

    Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Tuesday ordered the continuation of public sector cost-of-living allowances and then announced a $295bn budget for 2019, the kingdom's biggest ever. The budget announcement projected a $35bn shortfall, amounting to a deficit for the sixth year in a row because of low oil prices. "We are determined to go ahead with economic reform, achieving fiscal discipline, improving transparency and empowering the private sector," King Salman said in a televised speech. In a pre-budget statement in September, the government said it would increase spending by more than 7 percent in 2019 to help cut unemployment and increase sluggish economic growth. Unemployment - hovering at about

  • english.alarabiya.net

    Saudis call for boycott of Turkish products in protest against ‘Ankara’s plots’

    Saudi consumers in recent days launched a boycott campaign of Turkish products to protest against what they called “Ankara’s position on the case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi”. Saudi activists took the campaign on social media against the policies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in handling the Khashoggi file. The campaign which was represented through the hashtag #Saudis_rejecting_the_Turkish_Products aimed at boycotting all Turkish products and replacing them with local or other products from “friendly countries”.

  • CNN

    Miss Universe 2018: Catriona Gray, from the Philippines, claims crown

    Catriona Gray from the Philippines claimed the Miss Universe crown for 2018 on Monday, beating contestants from 93 other countries. The 24-year-old Filipina-Australian has become the fourth Filipina to bring home the coveted title. Thailand's own Sophida Kanchanarin made it to the final 10, to huge cheers from the home crowd, but did not progress further. History and controversy Ahead of Monday's final, much attention was on Miss Spain, Angela Ponce, the first transgender contestant in the competition's history. "I'm competing because it's what I've wanted to do since I was a little girl," Ponce told Time ahead of the competition. "I'm showing that trans women can be whatever they want to be:

  • Arab News

    Bangladesh's most celebrated swimmer hangs up trunks at 67

    DHAKA: After nearly half a century navigating Bangladesh's thousands of miles of rivers, the country's most celebrated swimmer has hung up his trunks - but not before one final, arduous paddle upstream. Kshitindra Baisya, 67, plans to spend his retirement on dry land inspiring younger generations to embrace the water in a country criss-crossed by huge rivers but where few swim. “I didn't have much idea about the beauty of this country until I swam dozens of its rivers,” Baisya told AFP. A veteran of Bangladesh's 1971 independence war against Pakistan, Baisya taught himself to swim at 18 and before long was paddling marathon distances along murky channels. A decade later, the father-of-two earned