Colors: Blue Color

The sister of George Floyd, whose death in police custody sparked months of racial turmoil across the US, has urged civil rights protesters to "be his legacy" as thousands gathered for a rally in Washington DC.

"My brother cannot be a voice today," said Bridgett Floyd. "We have to be that voice, we have to be the change".

Ms Floyd was one of several relatives of Black Americans harmed or killed by police to address the event commemorating a historic 1963 civil rights march.

Speakers demanded racial justice and urged people to vote. Jacob Blake Sr, whose son was shot in Wisconsin, told the rally they were holding court on racism in America - and the verdict was "guilty, guilty, guilty!"

Thousands of people gathered in Washington DC for the event that commemorated the 1963 civil rights March on Washington and in protest at police violence.

Called the ‘Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks’ - a reference to the murder of George Floyd, who died in May after a policeman knelt on his neck for several minutes - it follows renewed protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

The event brought together generations of activists to call for police reform and to urge Americans to vote in November's general election. It was organised by civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III - the eldest son of Mr King Jr.

The families of Black Americans shot or killed by police spoke at the same site where Martin Luther King Jr delivered his I Have a Dream speech. The 1963 March on Washington was a seismic event in US history, credited with spurring the passage of the Civil Rights Act outlawing segregation the following year.

Some 250,000 supporters packed the 1.9 miles (3 km) strip from Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, making it one of the largest political gatherings the country had ever seen.

Rev Sharpton announced the 2020 march - which falls on the 57th anniversary of the 1963 event - at Mr Floyd's memorial service in June. His organisation, the National Action Network, worked with Mr King III to convene the rally.

"The nation has never seen such a mighty movement, a modern day incarnation of what my father called the coalition of conscience," said Mr King III.

"And if we move forward with purpose and passion, we will complete the work so boldly began in the 1960s."

The event comes in the wake of at times violent protests over Mr Blake's shooting that have left two dead in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Mr Blake was shot and injured by police.
Since Mr Floyd's death in May, marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and against racism and police brutality have swept the US and the globe.

Speakers during the morning's programming included congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who paid tribute to the activism of Black Americans of the past whose "sacrifice and self-determination shaped history and brought us to this moment".

"We are Black with a capital B," she said. "We are the manifestation of the movement. We are a symbol of social, political and cultural progress."

Other presenters included a young activist who called for an end to the gun violence that plagues Black communities, and representatives from unions, gay rights groups and Hispanic activism groups, who expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris addressed the rally virtually.
Harris, who grew up in an activist household, paid tribute to civil rights leaders of the past.

"Let's march on for our ancestors and let's march on for our children and grandchildren," she said.

Among the initiatives on the agenda were slavery reparations, defunding police departments and investment in healthcare, housing and social services in Black communities, organisers said. It was drafted by hundreds of delegates from across the country.

Lahti, a town in Finland, offering cake, free transport tickets and other rewards to locals who cut their carbon emissions, has developed an app that tracks residents' CO2 outlays based on whether they travel by car, public transport, bike or on foot. The app, called CitiCAP and developed with European Union funds, gives volunteers a weekly carbon quota.

If their allowance is not exhausted, participants get virtual money that can be used to buy bus tickets, access to the swimming pool or a piece of cake.

Ville Uusitalo, the project's research manager, said: "You can earn up to two euros (per week) if your travel emissions are really low. But this autumn, we intend to increase the price tenfold.” Currently, around 44% of trips in the city are considered sustainable.

Head of the project, Anna Huttunen, said: "Lahti is still very dependent on cars. Our goal is that by 2030 more than 50% of all trips will be made via sustainable means of transport”.

On average, a resident Lahti — population 120,000 people — "emits the equivalent of 21 kilograms of CO2 per week", according to Uusitalo. The app challenges users to reduce their carbon emissions by a quarter.

So far 2,000 residents have downloaded the app, with up to 200 of them using it simultaneously.

CitiCAP's developers hope similar tools in the future will help people manage their consumption-related emissions.

"Mobility is only part of our carbon footprint," Uusitalo said .

The town, which is also the EU's 2021 Green Capital, aims to significantly reduce its environmental impact over the next ten years.

Africa is to be declared free from wild polio by the independent body, the Africa Regional Certification Commission.

Polio usually affects children under five, sometimes leading to irreversible paralysis. Death can occur when breathing muscles are affected by the paralysis. There is no cure but the polio vaccine protects children for life.

The disease is now only found in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nigeria is the last African country to be declared free from the disease, having accounted for more than half of all global cases less than a decade ago.

Polio is a virus which spreads from person to person, usually through contaminated water. It can lead to paralysis by attacking the nervous system. Two out of three strains of wild polio virus have been eradicated worldwide. On Tuesday, Africa is to be declared free of the last remaining strain of wild poliovirus.

More than 95% of Africa's population has now been immunised. This was one of the conditions that the Africa Regional Certification Commission set before declaring the continent free from wild polio. Now only the vaccine-derived polio virus remains in Africa.
This is a rare form of the virus that mutates from the oral polio vaccine and can then spread to under-immunised communities.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified a number of these cases in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and Angola. Without a cure a vaccine developed in 1952 by Dr Jonas Salk gave hope that children could be protected from the disease. In 1961, Albert Sabin pioneered the oral polio vaccine which has been used in most national immunisation programmes around the world.

In 1996 poliovirus paralysed more than 75,000 children across the continent - every country was affected. That year Nelson Mandela launched the "Kick Polio Out of Africa" programme, mobilising millions of health workers who went village-to-village to hand-deliver vaccines.

Since 1996 nine billion oral polio vaccines have been provided, averting an estimated 1. The last communities at risk of polio live in some of the most complicated places to deliver immunisation campaigns.

Nigeria is the last country in Africa to have reported a case of wild polio - in Borno state in Nigeria's remote north-east, and the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurrection, in 2016. At the time it was a frustrating set-back as the country had made huge progress and had gone two years without any cases being identified.

Outside Nigeria, the last place to have seen a case of polio was in the Puntland region of Somalia in 2014. Conflict with the Islamist militant group Boko Haram has made parts of Nigeria particularly difficult to reach, Borno state in particular.

More than two million people have been displaced by the fighting. Frontline workers, 95% of whom are women, managed to navigate areas of conflict like Lake Chad by boat and deliver vaccines to remote communities. Widespread rumours and misinformation about the vaccine have also slowed down immunisation efforts.

In 2003, Kano and a number of other northern states suspended immunisations following reports by Muslim religious leaders that the vaccine was contaminated with an anti-fertility agent as part of an American plot to make Muslim women infertile. Laboratory tests by Nigerian scientists dismissed the accusations. Vaccine campaigns resumed the following year, but the rumours persisted. In 2013 nine female polio vaccinators were killed in two shootings thought to be carried out by Boko Haram at health centres in Kano. It has taken decades to achieve eradication and overcome suspicion around the vaccine.
Winning the trust of communities has been key.

Misbahu Lawan Didi, president of the Nigerian Polio Survivors Association, says that the role of survivors has been crucial in persuading people to accept the campaign. "Many rejected the polio vaccine, but they see how much we struggle to reach them, sometimes crawling large distances, to speak to them. We ask them: 'Don't you think it is important for you to protect you child not to be like us?'"

From polio survivors, to traditional and religious leaders, school teachers, parents, volunteers and health workers, a huge coalition developed to defeat polio. Working together they travelled to remote communities to immunise children. Polio, or poliomyelitis, mainly affects children aged under five.

Initial symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness of the neck and pains in the limbs. It also invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% of people die when their breathing muscles become immobilised.

Polio can be easily imported into a country that is polio free and from there it can spread rapidly among under-immunised populations. This happened in Angola, which despite decades of civil war, defeated polio in 2001.

The country remained free from polio for four years until 2005 when a number of cases were thought to have been brought in from outside the country. The WHO says that it is important countries remain vigilant and avoid complacency until there is global eradication.
If they let down their defence by failing to vaccinate, then wild polio could once again begin to spread quickly.

For all types of polio to be eliminated, including vaccine-derived polio, vaccination efforts will need to continue alongside surveillance, to protect children from being paralysed by the disease in the future.

Sandwell Museums are launching a project to remember the first Commonwealth arrivals to the UK. 

The ‘What’s in the case?’ project is funded jointly by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s Windrush Scheme and Sandwell Council's Museums and Arts Service.

The aim is to collect the stories of the first wave of Commonwealth citizens travelling to Britain to live, work and make it their home in the years after the Second World War.

Councillor Danny Millard, cabinet member responsible for museums, said: “Sandwell and the rest of the UK would not be the diverse and culturally rich place it is today without the Windrush generations and every new Commonwealth arrival since then.

“We want to hear from that generation and their descendants, about their journey and the lives and experiences they have had since arriving.”

Cabinet member for Sustainable Transport, Cllr Jackie Taylor, who became the first African Caribbean councillor elected in Sandwell in 2014, said: "'What’s in the case?’ captures the dreams of my parents when they arrived in Birmingham in 1957.

"I am immensely proud of the bravery of that generation of people who travelled into the unknown from the Commonwealth. My parents arrived from Jamaica with not only the dreams for themselves and their families, but also that of British society and what they could contribute to it. I look forward to the project and richness of stories that I know will emerge, to inspire a new generation."

Deputy Leader Councillor Maria Crompton added: “It’s important to remember the first Commonwealth arrivals to the UK and to celebrate diversity and the many cultures and people that make Sandwell great.”

Sandwell Museums would like participants to take part in a series of interviews via phone, Skype or Zoom to collect their stories and memories of their journey to Britain and of course, what they packed in their cases. 

To take part and request more information email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Costa Rica has been recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) for the continuous efforts in developing and strengthening its sustainable tourism. The ‘GSTC-Recognised Standard’ status is related to the country’s Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST) and further strengthens Costa Rica’s position as a global leader in sustainability.
Launched by the Costa Rica Tourism Board in 1997, the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST) was created to provide guidelines for hotel properties and service providers to build their business model based on sustainable tourism practices. The CST is backed by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and, now, also by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
“As global leaders in sustainability, we are very pleased to receive GSTC’s recognition for the Certification of Sustainable Tourism Standard. Established more than 20 years ago, the CST is the result of the public and private sector’s collaborative efforts to recognise tourism companies for their sustainable practices,” said Gustavo Segura Sancho, Costa Rica’s Tourism Minister, who was a key player in the implementation of the CST in the country.
Costa Rica is well known as a global leader in sustainability – the country produces nearly 99% of its electricity from renewable resources and it is currently home to over 6.5% of the world’s biodiversity. Costa Rica also aims to become one of the first countries to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Achieving the GSTC-Recognised status means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Accreditation Panel. “CST is a well-established certification programme with a clever scheme of market incentives for participating businesses,” said Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.
Today, more than 400 tourism companies across Costa Rica are CST certified. The scheme is valid for two years. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all certificates will remain in place until January 2021 to support businesses during this extraordinary time, as long as companies keep up with their standards.

By: Emeka Alex Akwaeze

It’s yet another year when the youths globally come together in celebration of the Youth Day.

The place of the youths in the global economy cannot be over emphasized, considering their inputs in different sector of the economy. It is needful for the leaders of different nation to pay special attention in providing enabling platform for these youths, the Nigeria youths are known globally to be hard working and full of creativity, all that is needed is for the leaders to provide the needed enabling environment through which they can showcase their God giving potentials.

In this regard the former vice president of Nigeria and presidential aspirant in the last presidential election in Nigeria, in person of Former Vice President and the Presidential candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri of Adamawa, in his good will message to the Nigeria youths as they celebrates with other youths across the globe, the 21st anniversary of the International Youth Day.

In his message where he saluted the Nigerian youth in particular for their commitment and perseverance towards the attainment of a greater Nigeria, he noted that the theme for this year’s event ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action’ gives a clear picture of what the world perceives about the young people globally.

Stressing that this global perception about the youth has been a focus in his mind, where he took a decision of 40% inclusion of the youth in his 2019 presidential campaign, noting that, this was a promise he was determined to keep bearing in mind the futuristic benefits of our great nation Nigeria.

The former Vice President further noted that this era of Covid19, which face the whole world, the youth have a responsibility of guarding against being infected, as well as helping to stem the rate of infection by total observation of the set-out guidelines by the NCDC protocols of washing and sanitizing of hands, wearing of face mars mask, observing social distancing and avoiding crowded areas.
In addition he noted that human survival rests largely on the shoulders of the youths, noting that this global pandemic requires vigour to wear out the plague, stating that the vigor and spirit the youth embody will play a crucial role in the social-economic survival of the world, and its rejuvenation, post-Covid19.

He further admonish the youth stating that as a leader of today and tomorrow, he urge Nigeria’s youth to be preacher and practice peace, demonstrate patriotism at all levels; get themselves rid of nepotism and endeavor to promote competence above all forms of sentiments at all times, which is the only way we can truly have the Nigeria of our dream, he noted.

In his closing note he assured the Nigeria youths of his continue support, ‘‘I shall stay the course and continue to offer my shoulder for you all to clime because as youth, you are leaders of today’’ this he said.


On the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, which marks both the surrender of Japan and the end of the Second World War, leading vet charity, PDSA, paid their tribute to the brave hero animals ‘who also served’ and helped save countless lives during World War II.
The charity commemorated the milestone by sharing exclusive e-books which tell the remarkable stories of animal heroes honoured with the PDSA Dickin Medal**, known as the animals’ Victoria Cross. These include the incredible story of English Pointer Judy, who is the only dog to ever be listed as an official Prisoner of War in Japan, where she helped to maintain morale among her fellow prisoners and saved many lives through her intelligence and watchfulness.
The prestigious PDSA Dickin Medal recognises outstanding acts of gallantry and devotion to duty displayed by animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units in theatres of war.
The Medal was instituted by the charity’s Founder, Maria Dickin, with the approval of the War Office and Imperial War Museum, to raise the status of animals and acknowledge the remarkable roles they play in society. It was first awarded to a messenger pigeon named Winkie on 3 December 1943.
PDSA’s Awards and Heritage Manager, Amy Dickin, said: “Throughout history, animals have made an extraordinary difference to the lives of so many, not only the men and women who serve, but also civilians who our military are protecting.

“Sharing the stories of these incredible animals this VJ Day is a great way to celebrate the incredible, life-saving role animals have played throughout history, and continue to play today.”

Saturday 15 August 2020 VJ Day which marks 75 years since victory over Japan and the moment that finally brought World War II to an end.

To commemorate this anniversary and remember those who served in the Far East, events will take place to highlight the significance of this anniversary and those who remember leaving home for an unknown country and an unknown enemy and how it feels to be known as the ‘forgotten army’ at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, where a remembrance commemoration is taking place.

With a national two minutes silence led by HRH The Prince of Wales the commemorations close at Horse Guards Parade in London where the story of all those that served in the Far East is told.

Victory over Japan 75 years ago brought mixed emotions for those fighting in the malaria ridden jungles of the Far East. With the end of the war finally arriving relief, joy and sadness (at the human cost) was in abundance.

Those who had fought on through the final three months, largely forgotten by people at home, could finally look forward to returning to their loved ones, and some sort of normality.

But for many who had toiled for years in the brutal battlefields, or been prisoners, the end of the war didn’t mean the end of their suffering. The memories of what they endured and the loss of their comrades would live with them forever.


Following a rigorous selection process which took place between 15th – 19th July, Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) is pleased to announce the final team participating in the Walk of Oman expedition.

Formed of five ex-military personnel and one member still currently serving, all six of the team have physical or cognitive injuries and will tackle one of their toughest challenges yet, as they pull a custom-built cart weighing in excess of 300kg (around three times their own bodyweight) across the Omani desert.

Starting on November 20th and ending on December 11th 2020 the team will take on an epic trek inspired by Wilfred Thesiger. Thesiger, a British military officer, travelled across the Arabian Peninsula in the 1940s, and the trek will see the team embrace the same hostile conditions in the Omani desert. The expedition will end on Oman’s Armed Forces Day.

Highlighting the extraordinary courage of the men and women who have been injured, both physically and mentally, while serving their countries, the walk will showcase the need for continued support in aiding the transition from the Armed Forces into civilian life.

Experiencing extreme temperatures as high as 95°F and trekking between 20 km to 22 km per day in what will be an unforgettable three-weeks of strength, determination and grit, the team facing the desert are:

David Adams – David spent 13 years as an Aircraft Technician in the REME, serving in the UK, Afghanistan, Cyprus and Oman. David was medically discharged after a diagnosis of PTSD, following traumatic events whilst serving in Afghanistan.
Sean Gane – Joining the British Army in 1986 as an Infantryman, Sean served for 12 years between ’86 and 2014, leaving and later rejoining. He served on operational tours including Afghanistan and served his last tour in 2009. It was during this last tour Sean witnessed many traumatic events and was later diagnosed with PTSD and hearing and nerve damage. He was medically discharged in 2014.
Ben McComb - Ben joined the Army Reserves in October 2005 and served as a Private Solider until 2011, during which time he was selected for officer training. In 2011, he commenced regular officer training at RMAS and commissioned into the Royal Artillery. Ben has neural impingement and nerve damage in his lower limbs which is incurable. However, his condition is stable due to continuous self-rehabilitation management.
Brian O’Neill – Brian joined the British Army in 1990 aged 17 and served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Royal Military Police and Military Provost Staff Regiment. Brian served in 7 operational tours including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan and achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant during his 26 years of serving in the Armed Forces. He found the transition from military to civilian life exceptionally difficult.
Andrew Phillips – Having served in the Royal Air Force from 1983 – 1993 as a Junior Technician, Andrew was injured in the build-up to the Gulf War and eventually received a medical discharge due to a spinal cord injury. Struggling with the transition from military to civilian life, he became involved in the Invictus Games which helped him regain focus and a positive outlook on life.
Ashley Winter – Ashley served as a Challenger 2 Tank crewman serving in Kosovo and Iraq. He was diagnosed with Keratoconus ten years ago and has undertaken various physical challenges to inspire others.

The final team of six were chosen following a five-day selection process in which they hiked across different peaks in Grasmere, Cumbria. With the walks varying each day from 5 km to 20 km, the team were able to test their physical capabilities, whilst walking in an unpredictable climate and across tough terrains.

Ed Parker, CEO of WWTW said: “We are very excited to have been able to take all six candidates as part of the team from the selection week process. The team face an immense challenge ahead of them and each will be tested mentally and physically. Throughout the selection week process, each candidate embraced the task ahead and cemented the bond formed between them that will put them in good stead for the Omani desert.”

The Walk of Oman is supported by The Duke of Sussex in his role as the official Expedition Patron, along with support from the Royal Office of HM Sultan Haitham bin Tariq and in partnership with the Omani Armed Forces. The team will be followed by a support team in case of emergencies during the course of the expedition.

The U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) has resumed business operations following the passage of Tropical Storm Isaias.  

The storm brought heavy rainfall, but with little to no impact to the Territory’s tourism infrastructure, the Department of Tourism has reported.

The overnight curfew has been lifted, major roads are clear, and government offices are open.

The Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas and the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix remain open with normal operations; however, inter-island commuter aircraft reported some delays and cancellations. Travellers are reminded to contact airlines for updates and advisories. 

Seaports have opened, however, the Wilfred "Bomba" Allick Port and Transshipment Center (The Containerport) on St. Croix remains closed to vessel traffic due to high surf conditions. Other maritime and seaplane operations have resumed.

“We once again thank our partners for working in lock step to prepare for this weather event, and pray that those who are now in the storm’s path will be safe,” said Joseph Boschulte, USVI Commissioner of Tourism.

A postcard has helped to find the probable spot where Vincent van Gogh painted what may have been his final masterpiece, art experts say. The likely location for Tree Roots was found by Wouter van der Veen, the scientific director of the Institut Van Gogh.

He recognised similarities between the painting and a postcard dating from 1900 to 1910 showing trees on a bank near the French village of Auvers-sur-Oise. The site is 150m (492ft) from the Auberge Ravoux, where Van Gogh stayed for 70 days before taking his own life in 1890.

"The similarities were very clear to me," said Mr Van der Veen, who had the revelation at his home in Strasbourg, France, during lockdown.

He presented his findings to Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum, whose researchers conducted a comparative study of the painting, postcard and the hillside.

Experts and senior researchers at Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum concluded that it was "highly plausible" that the correct location had been identified, saying: "In our opinion, the location identified by Van der Veen is highly likely to be the correct one and it is a remarkable discovery.

"On closer observation, the overgrowth on the postcard shows very clear similarities to the shape of the roots on Van Gogh's painting. That this is his last artwork renders it all the more exceptional, and even dramatic."

At the time of his death in July 1890, Tree Roots was not entirely completed.


After a court annulled the site's status the world-famous Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul - originally founded as a cathedral - has been turned back into a mosque following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the decision.

Built 1,500 years ago as an Orthodox Christian cathedral, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in 1453. It became a museum in 1934 and is now a Unesco World Heritage site.

Islamists in Turkey long called for it to be converted to a mosque but secular opposition members opposed the move. The proposal prompted criticism from religious and political leaders worldwide.

Defending the decision, President Erdogan stressed that the country had exercised its sovereign right in converting it back to a mosque. He announced the first Muslim prayerers to take place inside the building on July 24.

"Like all our mosques, the doors of Hagia Sophia will be wide open to locals and foreigners, Muslims and non-Muslims," he added.

A change is coming to Hagia Sophia, which has endured since the 6th century, outlasting the Byzantine empire and the Ottoman era. Now, once again, it will be a mosque. But Turkish officials say Christian emblems, including mosaics of the Virgin Mary which adorn its soaring golden dome, will not be removed.
Making changes at Hagia Sophia is profoundly symbolic. It was Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, who decreed that it should be a museum. President Erdogan is now taking one more step to dismantle Ataturk's secular legacy, and remould Turkey according to his vision. The Turkish leader - who presents himself as a modern day conqueror - is making no apologies for the change. He says anyone who doesn't like it - and plenty abroad don't - is attacking Turkey's sovereignty.
Reclaiming Hagia Sophia plays well with his base - religious conservatives - and with Turkish nationalists. Critics say he's using the issue to distract attention from the economic damage done here by the Covid19 pandemic.
But many in the international community argue that the monument belongs to humanity - not to Turkey - and should have remained unchanged. They say it was a bridge between two faiths, and a symbol of co-existence.
Shortly after the announcement, the first call to prayer was recited at Hagia Sophia and was broadcast on all of Turkey's main news channels. The cultural site's social media channels have now been taken down.
Unesco has said it "deeply regrets" the decision to turn the museum into a mosque and called on the Turkish authorities to "open a dialogue without delay."significance as a religious and political symbol
The head of the Eastern Orthodox Church has condemned the move, as has Greece - home to many millions of Orthodox followers.
Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said it was an "open provocation to the civilised world".
"The nationalism displayed by President Erdogan... takes his country back six centuries," she said in a statement.
The court ruling "absolutely confirms that there is no independent justice" in Turkey, she added.
But the Council of State, Turkey's top administrative court, said in its ruling on Friday: "It was concluded that the settlement deed allocated it as a mosque and its use outside this character is not possible legally."
"The cabinet decision in 1934 that ended its use as a mosque and defined it as a museum did not comply with laws," it said.
The Church in Russia, home to the world's largest Orthodox Christian community, immediately expressed regret that the Turkish court had not taken its concerns into account when ruling on Hagia Sophia.
It said the decision could lead to even greater divisions.
While the move is popular with conservative religious supporters of President Erdogan, Turkey's most famous author, Orhan Pamuk said the decision would take away the "pride" some Turks had in being a secular Muslim nation.
"There are millions of secular Turks like me who are crying against this but their voices are not heard," he told the BBC.

Just a mere 27 months after the untimely death of our Great Mother of Africa, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, who transitioned on 2 April 2018, her youngest daughter, Zindzi Mandela, made so much in her image, was laid to rest right next to her mother in Johannesburg, South Africa on 17 July 2020.

Zindzi’s death will, of a surety, be felt by her family, the people of South Africa, and the world at large for years to come.

I was so blessed to have met Zindzi when she was a young woman, and what amazing times we had over the years.

No matter whether eating some of the best food in the world prepared by none other than Mama Winnie, falling out laughing on the veranda in Orlando West at some anecdote that Mama Winnie told us, anxiously awaiting results of medical tests, flying across the world, walking the plains of the Holy Land, or hearing her strong and kind laughter on the Thursday before she transitioned as she thanked me for the 1000th time for taking such good care of her mom and reminding me of how much my beloved BFF loved me, followed by a kind and loving text assuring me of how much she loved me and signed “your daughter Zindzi,” Zin always showed care and love and respect for those who shared the walk of life with her.

And as much as I ascribe to the reality that we never really die as long as we are held in the hearts and spirits of those who remain, I AM going to miss Zin for all that she was, for all that she is, and for all the hope and promise she was in the process of giving to the legacy of her Great Mother and for the benefit of our nation -- really and truly she is gone way too soon.

When I consider the fire in her belly, the passion in her heart for justice, fairness and well-being for others, the power in her soul, I am reminded of so many strong, courageous Black warrior women, who were created for and destined for unravelling the status quo as was she.

Great women like The Dahomey Amazons: The All-Female Warriors of Benin in West Africa; Sojourner Truth, the African American warrior who spoke out and stood against racial and sexual inequalities; Harriet Tubman, an African American abolitionist who risked her life time and time again to free more than 300 enslaved men, women and children, and was a Union spy during the American Civil War; Seh-Dong-Hong-Beh one of the great leaders of the Mino.

In 1890, King Behanzin used his female Mino fighters alongside the male soldiers to battle the French forces during the First Franco-Dahomean War, wherein the French army lost many battles because of the female warrior’s skill in battle.

Queen Mother Yaa Asantewaa of the Edweso tribe of the Asante, who fought and beat the British; Queen Nanny, a Jamaican national hero, a well-known leader of the Jamaican Maroons in the 18th century.

Amanirenas, one of the greatest queen mothers, who ruled over the Meroitic Kingdom of Kush in northeast Africa and led her army against the Roman Emperor Augustus and won.

Carlota Lukumí, a Yoruba captured and taken to Cuba to work on a sugar plantation who in 1843, along with another enslaved woman named Fermina, led an organized rebellion at the Triumvarato sugar plantation and won.

I think of Queen Nzinga Mbande, a highly intelligent and powerful 17th-century ruler of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms (modern-day Angola), who around the turn of the 17th century fearlessly and cleverly fought for the freedom of her kingdoms against the Portuguese.

I think of Muhumusa, a feared leader of the East African Nyabingi priestesses who was influential in Rwanda and Uganda and in 1911, she proclaimed “she would drive out the Europeans” and “that the bullets of the Wazungu would turn to water against her.”

I think of my BFF, Nomzamo Winifred (Winnie) Zanyiwe Madikizela Mandela her intelligence, beauty, fearlessness, and courage that kept a freedom movement alive with her capacity to inspire millions to be free.

And now added to the annuals of Great Warrior Women is Zindziswa (Zindzi) Mandela, who possessed the fearlessness to battle against apartheid, the fortitude to resist against injustices, and the fervor to defy inequality.

So big is Zindzi’s life, so powerful her own voice that I hesitate to speak of her in the past tense, for I know while the body expires, when we are in God, our spirit never dies, rather we merely transition to a higher plane.

Zindzi was a fortress of passion and energy. She was charming, eloquent, very funny, often making fun of the past hurts and troubles she and her family endured, when she allowed herself to think about them at all, and she was very, very brave.

Zindzi was a strong, bold and valiant activist for righteousness, the courageous defender of the weak, an unafraid protector of the downtrodden, and an audacious voice for the forgotten, no matter the cost.

A survivor, who endured unutterable trauma and indescribable horrors at the hands of the heinous apartheid system.

Often branded a terrorist, a troublemaker, names called to deflect from the malevolent behaviours of the oppressor who in truth and fact were the real terrorists, killers and looters, but no matter what the enemy called her, Zindzi rose to the challenges and contended against the oppressors, heroically.

In her beloved and cherished role as mother, she was deeply divided with the tasks of balancing the responsibility of caring for herself, giving to her children, and fighting for her nation and its freedom.

Zindzi fought for the needs of millions of other children, not born of her body, but born in and of her spirit.

Having seen and heard firsthand of unspeakable things done to her mother, that no child should have to endure, memories etched permanently in her spirit, although needing care for her tattered heart, Zindzi always found a way to prevail.

Even though scarred from the pain of her past and bearing a responsibility to right the wrongs, almost too heavy for a mere mortal to bear, Zindzi carried her load with dignity and grace.

Amazingly, she had compassion for others, even those who disappointed her, optimistically trusting that maybe they just did not understand the miles of bad road she had traversed.

No matter the cost, Zindzi lived in the framing of a sublime truth uttered eons ago by Galileo: “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

How blessed we have been, even for too short a time, to have been graced by Zindzi’s use of good sense, kindness, forbearance, amazing reason, and sharp intellect.

Truly, she has left a path of positive action, courage, fortitude and loving care for us to follow allowing us the material of her life’s living to forge a bridge of justice, peace and well- being for our people.

For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever… Their righteousness endures forever.”


For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever. They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord. Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. They have distributed freely; they have given to the poor; their righteousness endures forever…”.

An activist in India has become the first person from a tiny African-origin ethnic group to become a legislator in the country.

Shantaram Siddi is from the Siddhi community – descendants of Africans who travelled to India as merchants or slaves from the 17th Century onwards. Only about 50,000 remain.

He has been appointed to the assembly in the state of Karnataka. He’s also the first college graduate from his community.

He said he would continue to work for the rights of India’s tribes.

Speaking of his joy at the announcement, Mr Siddi told news site The Hindu: “I thought someone may be playing a prank.”

A message on his social media read: “I thought someone may be playing a prank. I went home for lunch. It was then that my wife and I started getting calls continuously, congratulating me for the nomination,’’ says Shantaram Siddi, the first from his community in any house of legislature – — Nistula Hebbar (@nistula) July 23, 2020.”

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa has praised the family of the country's first Black President Nelson Mandela for revealing that his daughter, Zindzi, who had passed, had Covid-19. The gesture will "encourage acceptance" of those infected, Mr Ramaphosa said.
The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Zindzi was buried alongside her mother, anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Only close friends and relatives attended the funeral service in Johannesburg because of coronavirus restrictions.

South Africa is the African country worst hit by coronavirus, with more than 320,000 cases. There have been more than 4,600 deaths, and government projections estimate this could rise to 50,000 by the end of the year. Despite public awareness of how the virus is spread, its symptoms and effects, there have been some reported cases of stigmatisation of those infected.

"I would like to thank the Mandela family for the very important gesture of sharing this information with the nation. This is a virus that affects us all, and there should never be any stigma around people who become infected," he tweeted ahead of Zindzi Mandela's funeral.

He added that revealing the cause of her death, was "a final act of solidarity in the life of a woman who devoted her life to the cause of her fellow South Africans."

Ms Mandela had "during our years of struggle brought home the inhumanity of the apartheid system and the unshakeable resolve of our fight for freedom," Mr Ramaphosa said in a statement after her death.

Zindzi Mandela, 59, was Nelson Mandela's sixth child and his second with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, his second wife.
Mourners gathered for her funeral service in Johannesburg have praised her as a freedom fighter.

"The invisible enemy took her away from us when she has survived bullets, torture and the pain inflicted by the apartheid system," Nomvula Mokonyane, an official from the governing African National Congress, was quoted as saying by EWN news site.

"She survived the most brutal regime at an early age, and we thought that this crisis and this invisible enemy that we are faced with today, she is going to survive because she has seen worse," said Julius Malema, the leader of the radical opposition EFF party.

Despite her father's fame Ms Mandela was an activist in her own right and was serving as ambassador to Denmark at the time of her death. She grew up at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle. With her father imprisoned on Robben Island, she endured years of harassment and intimidation by the apartheid regime, along with her sister Zenani, and her mother Winnie.

Zindzi Mandela read out her father's rejection of then-president PW Botha's offer for his conditional release from prison at a public meeting in February 1985. Through his foundation, Nobel peace laureate and former archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu said that "speech in Soweto, on behalf of her father... reinvigorated the values and principles of the struggle".

Ms Mandela "played a critical role symbolising the humanity and steadfastness of the anti-apartheid struggle", he added. Most recently, she was known for her vocal support for radical land reform in South Africa.

Only two of Nelson Mandela's six children are still alive: Zenani Dlamini, Zindzi's sister; and Pumla Makaziwe Mandela, a daughter from his first marriage, to Evelyn Mase.

US President Donald Trump has worn a mask in public for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The president was visiting the Walter Reed military hospital outside Washington, where he met wounded soldiers and health care workers.

"I've never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place," he said as he left the White House.

He has previously said that he would not wear a mask and mocked Democratic rival Joe Biden for doing so. But he recently said: "I think when you're in a hospital, especially in that particular setting, where you're talking to a lot of soldiers and people that, in some cases, just got off the operating tables, I think it's a great thing to wear a mask."

The change of tone came as the US recorded 66,528 coronavirus cases on Saturday, a new daily record.

Speaking to Fox Business Network, he said: "I'm all for masks."
Trump added that he "sort of liked" how he looked with one on, likening himself to the Lone Ranger, a fictional masked hero who with his Native American friend, Tonto, fought outlaws in the American Old West.

But when the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in April began recommending people wear masks or cloth coverings in public to help stop the spread of the virus,
Trump told reporters he would not follow the practice.

"I don't think I'm going to be doing it," he said back then. "Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens - I just don't see it."
Some media reports have suggested aides have repeatedly asked the president to wear one in public.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last month, Mr Trump suggested some people might wear masks to signal disapproval of him.

He also said he took issue with people touching their faces after taking their mask off. "They put their finger on the mask, and they take them off, and then they start touching their eyes and touching their nose and their mouth. And then they don't know how they caught it?" he said.

The US has seen another 66,528 infections in the past 24 hours, a record for one day, and a total of almost 135,000 deaths since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Louisiana has become the latest state to order that masks be worn in public.
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards also ordered the closure of bars across Louisiana, and tightened restrictions on restaurants, which will no longer be able to serve customers inside.

State Republican lawmakers are expected to oppose the move.
"If you don't like the mask mandate, then don't like it while you wear your mask," Governor Edwards said. "If you want to be mad at me about it, then be mad at me about it."
Neighbouring Texas has recorded another rise of coronavirus infections, with a record 10,500 new cases just recorded.

The governor of South Carolina has issued an order banning sales of alcohol after 23:00 in bars and restaurants to try to stop the spread of the virus.