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Political Stability is just an Illusion: For protection against Violence, Children in Yemen collect money for UN

The UN reports said, close to 2000 children were killed in Yemen in 2015 and 750 young boys were recruited as soldiers in the war

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Saudi-led air strike on Sana'a, 12 June 2015: Saudi Arabia is operating without a UN mandate. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons
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  • End of war announced in Yemen is just an illusion, say experts
  • United Nations was forced to remove Saudi-led coalition from list of countries inflicting violence upon children due to financial pressure
  • Many human rights groups as well as mayor of Sanaa have publicly criticized the UN for this move

The ceasefire that was declared in Yemen two months ago is just an illusion of peace, as was construed by the public statements that experts have issued. Therefore, the politically aware Yemeni population is infuriated by the fact that United Nations removed the Saudi-led coalition from the list of countries that inflict violence upon children. Military planes, missiles and bombs continue to plague the country incessantly. By doing so, Political analyst and journalist Nasser Arrabyee said that the UN is officially supporting ‘war crimes’ in Saudi Arabia.

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Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, through his Twitter account, announced that war in Yemen was “practically” over, though Emirati troops, that support the Saudi-led coalition, may continue to stay in the war-torn country for counter-terrorism purposes. UAE has also helped the coalition drive out Al-Qaida from the southern coastal city of Mukalla.

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Sana’a. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons

Yemen has been facing a civil war for over two years now. The main participants are Houthi militants, which are supported by former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Iran, and the coalition that has been relentlessly fighting to restore the internationally recognized Yemeni government. With powerful allies in the form of Iran, the Shiite Houthi group controls Sana’a, the capital of Yemen and much of the northern part as well. Civilians caught in between are living their worst years in Yemen not to mention child deaths.

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The United Nations reports that close to 2000 children were killed in Yemen in 2015 and 750 young boys were recruited as soldiers in the war. Almost 60% of the damage was inflicted by the coalition, based on which the political body was initially kept on the UN list.

The United Nations received wide scale criticism from many human rights groups including Oxfam, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in the form of open letters to Ban ki-Moon urging it to put up the coalition on the list based on impartial evidence and not politics.

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Ban ki-Moon. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons

Ban ki-Moon made a public statement stating that United Nations was under “undue pressure” from certain members threatening to cut off financial supplies to various humanitarian programs that the UN offered.

“I also had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would de-fund many U.N. programs,” Ban said.  “Children already at risk in Palestine, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and so many other places would fall further into despair.”

A group of children have started collecting money outside the UN office in a campaign spearheaded by the mayor of Sanaa, which is apparently a response to Ban’s announcement last week. It also intends to shame the United Nations for caving under financial pressure from the coalition and its ally members.

This development questions the credibility of the United Nations. Even temporarily removing Saudi Arabia from the list due to sudden financial threats sets a poor example, according to experts.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas(with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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  • AJ Krish

    The plight of children in such war-torn countries is really bad.Politics should never influence the UN from doing the right thing.

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Piano Lessons Make Children Smarter, Claims New Study

However it did not appear to confer any benefit for overall cognitive ability, as measured by IQ, attention span, and working memory, the researchers said

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Piano lessons make children smarter, claims new study
Piano lessons make children smarter, claims new study. Pixabay

If your kid is slow in language skills, then sending him or her for piano lessons can improve word discrimination as well as language proficiency, says a study.

The findings suggested that piano lessons may have specific effect on the children’s ability to distinguish different pitches, which helped them to better distinguish different words.

However it did not appear to confer any benefit for overall cognitive ability, as measured by IQ, attention span, and working memory, the researchers said.

“The children didn’t differ in the more broad cognitive measures, but they did show some improvements in word discrimination, particularly for consonants. The piano group showed the best improvement there,” said Robert Desimone from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

piano
Representational image. Pixabay

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, included data from nearly 100 children aged four or five years, who were divided into three groups — one that received 45-minute piano lessons three times a week; one that received extra reading instruction for the same period of time; and one that received neither intervention.

After six months, the researchers tested the children on their ability to discriminate words based on differences in vowels, consonants, or tone.

The results showed that, children who had piano lessons showed a significant advantage over children in the extra reading group in discriminating between words that differ by one consonant.

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Children in both the piano group and extra reading group performed better than children who received neither intervention when it came to discriminating words based on vowel differences.

“That’s a big thing for kids in learning language: being able to hear the differences between words. They really did benefit from that,” Desimone added.

The researchers hope their findings could encourage other schools to keep or enhance their music offerings. (IANS)