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Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg joined several hundred other young people Friday outside the United Nations to demand action on global warming.
To chants of “Greta! Greta!” the petite 16-year-old climate rock star made her way through a sea of young people, many of whom said they had drawn inspiration from her activism.
She rose to fame last year after she started skipping school on Fridays, leading strikes over the lack of action on climate change.
Greta arrived in New York on Wednesday, ahead of a Sept. 21 Youth Climate Summit at the United Nations, which she will address. Adult leaders will meet two days later to have a climate summit of their own.
She has said she will not fly because air travel leaves too big a carbon footprint, and she put her principles to the test, crossing the Atlantic in a zero-emissions, no-frills sailboat with her father and a small crew. The trip took two weeks and the seas were often rough.
On Friday, she looked tired and perhaps a bit overwhelmed by the large and enthusiastic crowd and the aggressive pack of photographers and reporters. She answered a few questions, but her comments were mostly inaudible because there was no sound system and she is not one to shout her message. But it did not dampen the enthusiasm of the many young people who had come to see her.
“We came today because we want to support Greta,” 12-year old Tilly told VOA. She had a sturdy grip on the hand of her 8-year old sister, Izzy. Tilly noted that her family recycles.
Olivia, 15, from Long Island, New York, came by commuter train with her friend Defna, also 15, to see Greta. Olivia said her school is very conservative and climate change is not a subject that gets much attention. She wants to change that.
“We want to start being a voice for our school, because we have to, because no one else is,” Olivia said. “We don’t have any clubs about the environment. We don’t have anything. We are trying to start, we have to, because people need to know about it, because they think it’s not as bad as it is.”
This youth movement is angry at world leaders and adults who they think are not taking rising atmospheric temperatures, melting ice caps and greenhouse gas emissions seriously.
“They [adults] have to strike with us, definitely,” Defna said. “And people who do not believe in the issue have to come here and support the kids, because it is our future.”
Demonstrators carried signs that warned, “Protect the planet because your life depends on it,” “Our house is on fire,” and messages to the grownups that included, “Act now or we will!”
Greta received an impromptu invitation to meet with the president of the U.N. General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés. She took two of the young New York activists with her, Alexandria Villasenor, 14 and Xiye Bastida, 17.
As they entered the U.N. building, Thunberg noted, “There is a lot of air conditioning.”
In her meeting, she spoke of the upcoming summit.
“I think this U.N. summit needs to be some kind of breaking point, tipping point, where people start to realize what is actually going on,” Thunberg said. “And, so we have high expectations in you, too, and all member states to deliver. And we are going to try to do our part to make sure that they have all eyes on them and they have put the pressure on them so they cannot continue to ignore it.”
Espinosa told VOA that she was impressed with Thunberg because of all that she has done and for “her commitment, strength and intelligence.”
She said they discussed how governments, the private sector, citizens and youth all have roles to play to change the tide of global warming.
Also Friday, a Brazilian delegation met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House, “to thank [him] for his support during the crisis surrounding the fires in the Amazon rainforest.”
The meeting was not previously announced in the president’s daily schedule but was tweeted by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro late Thursday.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Araújo downplayed the fires. “It’s basically on average of the last years, and Brazil is already controlling the fires,” he said.
More than 75,000 fires covering the Amazon region have been detected this year, with many of them coming this month. Experts have blamed farmers and ranchers for the fires, accusing them of setting them to clear lands for their operations.
About 60% of the Amazon region is in Brazil. The vast rainforest also extends into Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
At the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, last weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron and Bolsonaro went head to head several times over the Amazon fires issue. (VOA)
Trends come and go, but some stick around for a while, such as the Work from Home look. Forget wearing casuals and try some new styles that are both comfortable and appropriate for online meetings and calls.
Being in style is always great, whether it's at the office or at home. Naveen Mahlawat, co-founder of StalkBae.com, a fashion e-commerce site owned by MadBow Ventures Ltd, offers some new style advice for working from home:
The black and white top
This timeless combination never goes out of style. A black and white shirt teamed with a black trouser or skirt creates the perfect style, whether it's at your office desk or in your favourite chair at home.
This timeless combination never goes out of style. | IANS
What better way to show off your professional yet trendy side than with an olive-green full-sleeves top? In a Zoom meeting or during a virtual chat with your client, the all-time favourite olive colour is great to capture eyes.
What better way to show off your professional yet trendy side than with an olive-green full-sleeves top. | IANS
Classy Cargo trousers
Old is gold, and Cargo tracks are the most comfortable and easiest to style. Pair them with sweaters or sweatshirts for a full day in front of the computer.
The Shirt dress
For your virtual presentations on your office project, the shirt dress gives you a formal yet trendy look. The blue shirt seems comfortable enough to wear all day, but it also gives the impression that you didn't just get out of bed.
For your virtual presentations on your office project, the shirt dress gives you a formal yet trendy look. | IANS
Checkered Blue Skirt
Match your favourite sleeveless tops with the lovely knotted checkered blue skirt for a stylish look for your long day at work. With this outfit, you may show your eccentric side while yet maintaining a professional demeanour at work. (IANS/ MBI)
Match your favourite sleeveless tops with the lovely knotted checkered blue skirt. | IANS
(Keywords: style, office, slay, work, shirt, skirt, green, trendy, professional, checkered, work from home)
By M.K. Ashoka
The issue of wearing a hijab (head covering worn in public by Muslim women) to the colleges along with the uniform has sparked a debate in Karnataka over religious practices impacting the education system in the state. The matter has also snowballed into a controversy on whether the hijab could be considered as part of the uniform. The ruling BJP is deliberating on whether to take a call on allowing hijab as part of the uniform of college students. State Education Minister B.C. Nagesh, while opposing the wearing of hijab to classrooms, has said that a decision would be taken on the issue soon by the government.
The experts as well as students are divided over the issue. Those who are in favour state that the dress code in classrooms should not indicate faith or religion as it creates barriers between students as well as teachers. Those who support the wearing of hijab say that hijab should be treated as a scarf. Hijab is black in colour and it can't be a religious symbol as Islam is identified with the green colour. The hijab should be treated as a symbol of chastity, they maintain.
The denial of permission to six girls in the Government Girls' Pre University College in the communally sensitive district of Udupi in the state has created a controversy. Nagesh dubbed it as a political move and questioned whether centres of learning should become religious centres. Meanwhile, the girl students have decided to continue their protest until they are allowed to attend classes wearing hijab.
"I have been facing the issue of hijab. We have not been allowed into the classroom just because we are wearing hijab. Though it's our fundamental and constitutional right they are not allowing us. It's a government college though. There is a lot of discrimination in the college, we can't speak to each other in Urdu, we can't say salaam to each other in the college. This matter has become communal and we are so sad about it. We did not want this to become communal," Aliya Assadi, a protesting student explained.
"Many political parties are taking advantage of this. We are just asking for basic fundamental rights. I don't know why it is so tough to take us inside with a headscarf. We are not asking permission with burqas. Last Friday, the college principal and four professors made protesting students give an apology letter by blackmailing them that their statements on hijab are false. For basic rights do we have to do so much?" she asked. "They tease that we will never win in this protest. They called our parents many times and tried to manipulate them. I request government officials to respond on the issue and allow us to wear hijab. We don't want options. We want to study, come up in life as well as wear hijab," explained Almas.
The girl students have decided to continue their protest until they are allowed to attend classes wearing hijab. | Unsplash
Eight students of the college are still protesting in the college campus for being denied entry into the classrooms for wearing hijab along with the uniform. Five of them are studying in II PUC and three students are studying I PUC. The students are turning down the demands of shunning hijab and are firm on their stand that until the government gives them permission to wear hijab and attend classes, they will sit outside the classrooms and continue to protest. They maintain that it is their religious freedom and constitutional right to wear hijab.
Sathish M Bejjihally, Bengaluru City University Academic Council Member and Principal Vidya Sanskaar Institute of Science, Commerce and Management, told IANS that educational institutions should be devoid of caste, colour, religion. Students come to school for learning. There may be differences of opinion however, there should not be differences among individuals.
"The dress should not indicate faith, religion. It will create barriers between students. The development may lead to clashes in the educational institutes. Swami Vivekananda has stated that education is the manifestation of perfection which is already there in the child. The child was born as ‘vishwa manava' (global citizen), but society restricts him to become one" he said. The students wearing hijabs will miss out on peer group learning. Uniform is a comfortable cloth designed to facilitate participation of students in sports, cultural activities, he explained.
However, Professor Muzaffar Assadi, Dean Faculty of Arts in ManasaGangothri in Mysuru University, explained that dress code is about decency. We should be allowed to wear hijab just as sarees, Punjabi dresses are allowed. Hijab could be treated as a headscarf and it will not hide the uniform. "If hijab could be treated as a religious symbol then students can't come to classes with kumkum (bindi, vermillion), bangles. No public school is completely secular. Saraswathi pooja is conducted, Hindu gods' photos will be on walls, festivals are celebrated in schools, aren't they religious?" Assadi asks.
Hijab is a symbol of chastity, not a religious one. "Why don't you treat it as just a scarf? If you see everything in that perspective then wearing of ‘Janivaar' (sacred thread) is also religious. Hijab is not religious as it is of black colour. Islam is identified with green colour. Black also represents dissent and sadness, he says.
The dress which does not attract sexual appetite, indecent, against the rules and which does not cover uniform should be allowed. "Let us celebrate cultural diversity. I oppose uniform culture itself. One of my colleagues who is retiring always comes for lectures in jeans and a t-shirt. It should not matter," he said.
Premashree, Central Working Committee Member of Akhila Bharatha Vidyarthi Parishad and student of LLM, explained that students have to come with a feeling of unity. "Anything which affects unity and gives scope to groupism we will oppose. There should not be saffron shawls either in the campus," she said. "Since 75 years the uniform system in the country has been maintained like this and it has to be maintained like that," she opines.
All eyes are on the move of the ruling BJP in the state over the issue of wearing of hijab by students. | Unsplash
Masood Manna, State Committee Member of Campus Front of India (CFI), said, "If there is no solution found by the government they will stage a protest. "It is a violation of the right to education and the right to practice religion," he said. Nagesh told IANS that a decision had been made by the School Development and Management Committee in 1985. The committee has taken a decision with regard to uniforms in the campus. "So far all children are following the rule. Whichever institution it is, if they make a rule, the students who want to study must be obliging. All these days the uniform rule was followed and why did they suddenly change?" he asked.
"It is political. What if others start wearing dresses according to their wishes? Do we have to allow them, the students will come in half dresses, and do we have to allow them?" Nagesh questioned. A similar incident was reported from Chikkamaglur district. One group of students started wearing saffron shawls protesting the wearing of hijabs by some girl students in the college. The authorities have resolved the issue after holding a parents-teachers meeting. Now, all eyes are on the move of the ruling BJP in the state over the issue of wearing of hijab by students. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: hijab, karnataka, bjp, ruling, row, political, muslims, islam, rights, students, educational institutions)
An Indian-American police officer, who has been on the job for just over six months, is being hailed a hero for rushing to neutralize a gunman who shot a police officer and wounded another. Sumit Sulan, 27, shot the assailant who surprised the officers opening fire on them in his mother's flat on January 21 where police were called because of a domestic dispute. Jason Rivera, 22, was killed and Wilbert Mora, 27, was wounded, but Sulan who was in the police party advanced and shot the alleged gunman, Lashawn McNeil, 47, according to police.
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McNeil is in hospital with serious injuries. Before taking on the gunman, Sulan had moved the mother and her other son to safety, police said. Sulan and his two colleagues had gone to the flat in the Harlem neighborhood in response to a call by McNeil's mother that her son was threatening her. He had a close escape when he rushed to take on McNeil as the man allegedly was firing with a super-charged weapon - a modified Glock pistol fitted with a high-capacity drum with 50 rounds, turning it into a virtual machine gun. His mother Dalvir Sulan told the New York Post: "I'm proud. Everyone (says) he did good."
McNeil is in hospital with serious injuries. | Unsplash
She said that he was still struggling to deal with the events and "his brain is stuck on the situation". According to her, the family had immigrated to the US about 15 years ago from India. Sumit Sulan, who entered the police force only in April 2021, has been nicknamed "Super Rookie", according to the Post. He had worked for the city as a taxi and limousine inspector before joining the police. Sumit Sulan had responded earlier this month to a domestic violence incident during which a gun was seized, his police station tweeted with a picture of him holding the weapon. In a city caught in a wave of escalating violence, Friday's incident was the third gun attack on police officers this month.
They are a direct challenge to Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain, who took office on New Year's Day with a promise to crack down on crime. He called the shooting of the police officers an "attack on the city". Police have come under sustained attack around the country from the Democratic Party's left and its supporters with a sustained movement to either abolish or cut the police force in a campaign that started in May 2020 after the killing of an African-American by police in Minnesota. While Adams, who is a Democrat, has pledged to take a hard line against crime, others in his party have taken the opposite tack.
A gunman shot a police officer and wounded another. | Unsplash
His party colleague Avin Bragg, who was elected the public prosecutor for Manhattan, where the January 21 attack took place, has announced that he would not prosecute several categories of offences like most assaults; theft without guns that would affect Indian news-stand operators and Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants running grocery stores; not paying fares on the metro rail system, and resisting police, which in effect would decriminalizing them. So far the Black Lives Movement and the Democratic party's left have been silent on Sumit Sulan and have not attacked him for shooting McNeil, who is African-American, as they often do when a Black person is shot by police. The slain officer and his wounded colleague are both Latinos, members of a minority community. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : cop, kill, gunman, hero, officer, India, America, violence, hospital, injury, weapon, assault, city, inspector, safety, dispute.)