UK’s LemonAid Boys, 8, squeeze oranges to help rebuild homes for Syrians

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Eight-year-old best friends Ayaan Moosa (L) and Mikaeel Ishaaq began raising money for humanitarian causes when they were six years old by selling homemade lemonade. (AN Photo/Sarah Glubb)
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UK-based charity Penny Appeal teamed up with the LemonAid Boys to give out freshly squeezed orange juice in Ilford, in east London, to promote the Rebuilding Syria campaign. (AN Photo/Hasenin Fadhel)
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Mikaeel Ishaaq (L) and Ayaan Moosa, known as the LemonAid Boys, are raising money to build homes for Syria this Ramadan. (AN Photo/Hasenin Fadhel)
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Updated 19 April 2022

UK’s LemonAid Boys, 8, squeeze oranges to help rebuild homes for Syrians

  • Ayaan Moosa and Mikaeel Ishaaq have raised money for Yemen, Palestine, and Rohingya, and now they want to help Syria
  • The boys have teamed up with UK charity Penny Appeal as their new young ambassadors to raise money and awareness for various causes

LONDON: Two eight-year-old boys, who have upped their philanthropic game over the past year by selling lemonade, have now set their eyes on raising money to build homes for Syria this Ramadan.

“We’re raising money for homes for Syria, and we’re aiming to raise double the amount of what we raised for Yemen, which is around £250,000,” Mikaeel Ishaaq, one of the LemonAid Boys, told Arab News.

He said they like raising money because they want to help needy people to have access to basic provisions, like food and water, so they can be equal to them, and maybe one day, get to meet them.




Mikaeel Ishaaq (R) and Ayaan Moosa, known as the LemonAid Boys, are raising money to build homes for Syria this Ramadan. (AN Photo/Hasenin Fadhel)

“We’ve done Yemen, Palestine, and Rohingya, and now we want to help Syria,” his charity pal Ayaan Moosa said, adding that they were now focusing on helping Syrian refugees and those displaced from war.

The two best friends, from Ilford, in east London, began raising money for humanitarian causes when they were six years old by selling homemade lemonade. To their surprise, their initial campaign to collect cash for Yemen went viral and caught the attention of award-winning actress and human rights campaigner Angelina Jolie, along with several Premier League footballers, human rights organizations, and international TV stations.

For this year’s campaign, the boys have teamed up with UK-based charity Penny Appeal and are squeezing oranges, instead of lemons, for OrangeAid in conjunction with the international humanitarian organizations Team Orange.




UK-based charity Penny Appeal teamed up with the LemonAid Boys to give out freshly squeezed orange juice in Ilford, in east London, to promote the Rebuilding Syria campaign. (AN Photo/Sarah Glubb)

“It feels different because oranges have bigger seeds, so you have to push harder into the oranges. We’re having a lot of fun and we’re happy because we’re making other people happy in other countries, and we’re doing zakat,” Moosa added.

His father Shakil Moosa said his wife, and Ishaaq’s parents, were “quite active in charity” and helped specific causes. They had wanted to introduce their boys to their work from a young age, but never thought it would go as “crazy” as last year.

“As Muslims, it’s a huge part of our life, it’s one of the pillars of our religion, so we want to instill that into our children from a very young age, and they’ve been doing this now since they were six years old, and now they’re eight, and it’s just everyday life for them,” he said.




Eight-year-old best friends Ayaan Moosa (L) and Mikaeel Ishaaq began raising money for humanitarian causes when they were six years old by selling homemade lemonade. (AN Photo/Hasenin Fadhel)

Last year, the boys also won a number of accolades and were nominated for a gold Blue Peter Badge — the highest award given for exceptional achievement by the BBC children’s program — by the British rapper Stormzy. Following that, they won the Rotary Great Britain and Ireland Young Citizen Awards for their humanitarian causes.

The boys are now Penny Appeal’s new ambassadors after also collaborating on another Ramadan campaign to help raise money for Palestinian medjoul date farmers by promoting the dates with their own recipes online.

Nazira Bemath, the charity’s PR manager, said: “That’s when the idea was like, you know what? These boys are amazing. Let’s get them on board, and they actually came to me and said we’d like to raise money for Penny Appeal and this time we’d like to do Syria and that just was exactly what we were raising for this Ramadan, we’re doing a big campaign called Rebuilding Syria.”

 

 

Moving forward, she added, they were planning to do several projects with the young ambassadors and get them to front different lifestyle and Muslim community campaigns over the coming year and join forces with the well-established charity that had the tools to enable them to really make a difference.

“They’re little role models, if other children see them doing stuff like this for charity, it rubs off on other children, other kids want to get involved. And the idea is to really build the young fundraisers of our generation, and Mikaeel and Ayaan envelope exactly what we’re trying to do,” Bemath said.

Redbridge London Borough Council leader, Jas Athwal, who visited the Penny Appeal van in Ilford town center, said it was “absolutely fantastic” that so much money had been raised to rebuild infrastructure and housing in Syria, but also to rebuild people’s lives.




Redbridge London Borough Council leader Jas Athwal (C) visited the Penny Appeal van in Ilford town center. (AN Photo/Sarah Glubb)

“When people are down, especially in places like Syria, Yemen, even now in Ukraine, we have to come together as humanity to make sure that we stand up for our fellow human citizens, our brothers and sisters, because we don’t know when we may need help ourselves,” said the politician.

“The LemonAid Boys, Penny Appeal, what they’re doing is just so wonderful, and I’m just so pleased that there are people living here in Redbridge who’ve got the vision, the foresight, and the empathy to actually really deliver for fellow humanity.”

 

 

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At least 129 dead after riot at Indonesia football match

Updated 02 October 2022

At least 129 dead after riot at Indonesia football match

  • Arema FC supporters rioted after their team lost to the visiting team Persebaya Surabaya
  • Many of the victims were trampled or choked to death, says police and rescuers

MALANG, Indonesia: At least 129 people died at a football stadium in Indonesia when thousands of fans invaded the pitch and police fired tear gas that triggered a stampede, authorities said Sunday.
The tragedy on Saturday night, in the eastern city of Malangm was one of the world’s deadliest sporting stadium disasters.
Arema FC supporters at the Kanjuruhan stadium stormed the pitch late on Saturday after their team lost 3-2 to the visiting team and bitter rivals, Persebaya Surabaya.
Police, who described the unrest as “riots,” said they tried to persuade fans to return to the stands and fired tear gas after two officers were killed.
Many of the victims were trampled or choked to death, according to police.
East Java police chief Nico Afinta said many people were crushed and suffocated when they ran to one exit.
He initially said a total of 127 people had died, but the toll was later raised to 129.
A hospital director told local TV that one of the victims was five years old.
Images captured from inside the stadium during the stampede showed huge amounts of tear gas and people clambering over fences.
People were carrying injured spectators through the chaos.

Video footage circulating on social media showed people shouting obscenities at police, who were holding riot shields.
The stadium holds 42,000 people and authorities said it was a sell-out, Police said 3,000 people stormed the pitch.
“We would like to convey that... not all of them were anarchic. Only about 3,000 who entered the pitch,” Afinta said.

Torched vehicles, including a police truck, littered the streets outside the stadium on Sunday morning. Police said 13 vehicles in total were damaged.
The Indonesian government apologized for the incident and promised to investigate the circumstances surrounding the stampede.
“This is a regrettable incident that ‘injures’ our football at a time when supporters can watch football matches from the stadium,” Indonesian Sports and Youth Minister Zainudin Amali told broadcaster Kompas.
“We will thoroughly evaluate the organization of the match and the attendance of supporters. Will we return to banning supporters from attending the matches? That is what we will discuss.”
Fan violence is an enduring problem in Indonesia, where deep rivalries have previously turned into deadly confrontations.
Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya are longtime rivals.

Persebaya Surabaya fans were not allowed to buy tickets for the game due to fears of violence.
However Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Mahfud MD, said organizers ignored the recommendation of authorities to hold the match in the afternoon instead of the evening.
And he said the government had recommended only 38,000 tickets be printed, but there was instead a sell-out crowd of 42,000.
“The government has made improvements to the implementation of football matches... and will continue to improve. But this sport, which is a favorite of the wider community, often provokes supporters to express emotions suddenly,” he said in an Instagram post.
The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) suspended football matches of Indonesia’s top league, BRI Liga 1, for one week.
It also banned Arema FC from hosting home games for the rest of the season and said it would send an investigation team to Malang to establish the cause of the crush.
“We’re sorry and apologize to families of the victims and all parties over the incident,” PSSI chairman Mochamad Iriawan said.
Indonesia is to host the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in May at six stadiums across the country. The Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang is not included in that list.
Other stadium disasters include a 1989 crush in the stands at Britain’s Hillsborough Stadium, which led to the deaths of 97 Liverpool fans, and the 2012 Port Said stadium tragedy in Egypt where 74 people died in clashes.
In 1964, 320 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured during a stampede at a Peru-Argentina Olympic qualifier at Lima’s National Stadium.


At least 174 dead after riot at Indonesia football match

Updated 21 min 35 sec ago

At least 174 dead after riot at Indonesia football match

  • Arema FC supporters rioted after their team lost to the visiting team Persebaya Surabaya
  • Many of the victims were trampled or choked to death, says police and rescuers

MALANG, Indonesia: At least 174 people died with more than 100 injured at a football stadium in Indonesia when thousands of fans invaded the pitch and police fired tear gas that triggered a stampede, authorities said Sunday.
The tragedy on Saturday night, in the eastern city of Malangm was one of the world’s deadliest sporting stadium disasters.
Arema FC supporters at the Kanjuruhan stadium stormed the pitch late on Saturday after their team lost 3-2 to the visiting team and bitter rivals, Persebaya Surabaya.
Police, who described the unrest as “riots,” said they tried to persuade fans to return to the stands and fired tear gas after two officers were killed.
Many of the victims were trampled or choked to death, according to police.
East Java police chief Nico Afinta said many people were crushed and suffocated when they ran to one exit.
He initially said a total of 127 people had died, but the toll was later raised to 174.
A hospital director told local TV that one of the victims was five years old.
Images captured from inside the stadium during the stampede showed huge amounts of tear gas and people clambering over fences.
People were carrying injured spectators through the chaos.

Soccer fans carry an injured man following clashes during a soccer match at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, Indonesia, on Oct. 1, 2022. (AP Photo) 

Video footage circulating on social media showed people shouting obscenities at police, who were holding riot shields.
The stadium holds 42,000 people and authorities said it was a sell-out, Police said 3,000 people stormed the pitch.
“We would like to convey that... not all of them were anarchic. Only about 3,000 who entered the pitch,” Afinta said.

Torched vehicles, including a police truck, littered the streets outside the stadium on Sunday morning. Police said 13 vehicles in total were damaged.
The Indonesian government apologized for the incident and promised to investigate the circumstances surrounding the stampede.
“This is a regrettable incident that ‘injures’ our football at a time when supporters can watch football matches from the stadium,” Indonesian Sports and Youth Minister Zainudin Amali told broadcaster Kompas.
“We will thoroughly evaluate the organization of the match and the attendance of supporters. Will we return to banning supporters from attending the matches? That is what we will discuss.”
Fan violence is an enduring problem in Indonesia, where deep rivalries have previously turned into deadly confrontations.
Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya are longtime rivals.

Officers examine a damaged police vehicle following a clash between supporters of two Indonesian soccer teams at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, Indonesia, on Oct. 1, 2022. (AP)

Persebaya Surabaya fans were not allowed to buy tickets for the game due to fears of violence.
However Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Mahfud MD, said organizers ignored the recommendation of authorities to hold the match in the afternoon instead of the evening.
And he said the government had recommended only 38,000 tickets be printed, but there was instead a sell-out crowd of 42,000.
“The government has made improvements to the implementation of football matches... and will continue to improve. But this sport, which is a favorite of the wider community, often provokes supporters to express emotions suddenly,” he said in an Instagram post.
The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) suspended football matches of Indonesia’s top league, BRI Liga 1, for one week.
It also banned Arema FC from hosting home games for the rest of the season and said it would send an investigation team to Malang to establish the cause of the crush.
“We’re sorry and apologize to families of the victims and all parties over the incident,” PSSI chairman Mochamad Iriawan said.
Indonesia is to host the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in May at six stadiums across the country. The Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang is not included in that list.
Other stadium disasters include a 1989 crush in the stands at Britain’s Hillsborough Stadium, which led to the deaths of 97 Liverpool fans, and the 2012 Port Said stadium tragedy in Egypt where 74 people died in clashes.
In 1964, 320 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured during a stampede at a Peru-Argentina Olympic qualifier at Lima’s National Stadium.
 


Sweden allows exports of war material to Turkey

Updated 02 October 2022

Sweden allows exports of war material to Turkey

  • Four rockets landed in the Green Zone on Wednesday during a partial lockdown as parliament was convening, wounding seven security personnel, and another four rockets fired from eastern Baghdad landed around the zone on Thursday

STOCKHOLM: Sweden has reauthorized exports of war materials to Turkey in an apparently significant concession to Ankara, which is threatening to block the Nordic country’s NATO membership.

Ankara requested the lifting of the restrictions — which were introduced in 2019 following a Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria — after Sweden applied to join NATO in mid-May.

“The government has made the assessment that a Swedish membership in NATO is the best way to protect Sweden’s and the Swedish people’s security,” the Inspectorate of Strategic Products said in a statement.

The government had already announced in June that Swedish membership of the military alliance could affect policy around military exports.

“Sweden’s application for NATO membership to a large degree strengthens the defense and security policy arguments for approving exports of war materials to other member states, including Turkey,” the authority said.

The ISP said it had approved exports relating to “electronic equipment,” “software” and “technical assistance” to Turkey in the third quarter of 2022.

To date, 28 of the 30 NATO member states have ratified the accession of Sweden and Finland. Only Hungary and Turkey remain. New members to the alliance require unanimous approval.

Turkey’s parliament is due to resume work on Saturday after the summer break. But the country is heading for parliamentary elections in June 2023 and this could make it cautious about voting on membership for the Nordic countries.

As of Friday, Ankara had not reacted to the Swedish announcement.

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UN chief ‘strongly condemns’ coup in Burkina Faso

Updated 02 October 2022

UN chief ‘strongly condemns’ coup in Burkina Faso

  • The situation in capital Ouagadougou was tense on Saturday, with gunfire and the deployment of soldiers in the streets, raising fears of clashes between Damiba’s supporters and the country’s new strongmen

NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned army officers who seized power in Burkina Faso and called on all parties to refrain from using violence in the restive West African country.

“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the unfolding developments in Burkina Faso. He strongly condemns any attempt to seize power by the force of arms and calls on all actors to refrain from violence and seek dialogue,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

The situation in capital Ouagadougou was tense on Saturday, with gunfire and the deployment of soldiers in the streets, raising fears of clashes between Damiba’s supporters and the country’s new strongmen.

The new putschists were quick to introduce an overnight curfew.

The army officers who have seized power in Burkina Faso said in televised comments that toppled junta leader Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was planning a counteroffensive from a “French base.”

Damiba “is believed to have taken refuge in the French base at Kamboinsin in order to plan a counter-offensive to stir up trouble in our defence and security forces,” they said in a statement read out on national television and signed by Capt. Ibrahim Traore, the country’s new strongman.

France, the former colonial power in Burkina Faso, denied any involvement.

An hour before the televised comments by the military figures, who overthrew Damiba on Friday, the French Embassy issued a statement “firmly denying any involvement of the French army in the events of the last few hours.”

The embassy also denied “rumors that Burkinabe authorities have been hosted or are under the protection of French military.”

According to the coup plotters, the actions by Damiba and the French forces are in response to their willingness “to go to other partners ready to help in the fight against terrorism.”

No country was explicitly mentioned but Russia, whose influence is growing in French-speaking Africa, is among the possible partners in question.

France has a military presence in Burkina Faso, with a contingent of special forces based in Kamboinsin which is some 30 km from the capital Ouagadougou.

Damiba himself came to power in a coup in January.

He had installed himself as leader of the country of 16 million after accusing elected president Roch Marc Christian Kabore of failing to beat back jihadist fighters.

With much of the Sahel region battling a growing insurgency, the violence has prompted a series of coups in Mali, Guinea and Chad since 2020.


Cultural ministers pledge more action to return priceless artifacts

Updated 01 October 2022

Cultural ministers pledge more action to return priceless artifacts

  • The declaration from the United Nations’ cultural arm called for open, inclusive international dialogue on illegally acquired artifacts and concrete measures to battle the illicit trade in antiquities

MEXICO CITY: Cultural ministers and representatives from 150 countries committed to expanding efforts to return historical artifacts to their countries of origin, according to a declaration released on Friday, following a UNESCO conference in Mexico City.

Major museums, auction houses and private collectors have faced growing pressure in recent years to repatriate priceless works of art and other antiquities from Latin American and African nations, among others, which argue the goods were often taken unethically or illegally.

The declaration from the United Nations’ cultural arm called for open, inclusive international dialogue on illegally acquired artifacts and concrete measures to battle the illicit trade in antiquities.

The declaration deems culture a “global public good” that should be included in the UN development goals.

Restitution of cultural artifacts is often politically sensitive and raises questions over the transport and care of often delicate antiquities.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has renewed calls in India for the return of one of the world’s largest uncut diamonds from Britain’s crown jewels, while Chile has for years demanded the return of a Moai statue from the British Museum.

Mexico’s government has previously called for the return of a 500-year-old Aztec crest known as Montezuma’s headdress from a Vienna museum, but experts have deemed its centuries-old iridescent quetzal feathers, dotted with golden pendants, too fragile for transport.

During the conference, ministers also discussed how to protect heritage from wars and climate change.

Ernesto Ottone, a senior UNESCO official, expressed hope that old attitudes are shifting in an interview on the sidelines of the conference.

“In the last three years there has been a change, a turning point, on how restitution can be made,” he said, pointing to recent bilateral deals that have led to the return of artifacts. “Today, doors are opening for us.”

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