Colors: Blue Color

Between them, Brian O’Driscoll and Bryan Habana have amassed 262 international caps, scored 114 international tries, won a Rugby World Cup and climbed no mountains. Next month, that will all change as the Laureus legends swap rugby boots for hiking boots and trek 100km through South Africa’s Drakensberg Mountain range to raise funds for Laureus Sport for Good.

Brian and Bryan will be joined on the trek from 14 – 19 May by Laureus Ambassador Annabelle Bond, the fastest woman to climb all seven summits, Laureus Ambassador and South African TV personality Dan Nicholl and 100 inspirational fundraisers from around the world. Laureus Ambassador and South African rugby legend Jean de Villiers will also offer his support, seeing the participants off from camp on the first day of the trek.

The Challenge Africa trek will test participants’ mental and physical stamina, taking them across steep and strenuous mountain passes, scaling to elevations of over 3,000m and trekking through a game reserve alongside zebras and antelope.

All funds raised by participants on the trek will support the work of five Laureus-supported programmes around the world; Active Communities Network (Northern Ireland), Active Communities Network (Republic of Ireland), Coolplay (South Africa), Mathare Youth Sports Association (Kenya) and Model City Hong Kong.

With the support of Laureus Sport for Good, each of these programmes is using sport as a tool to improve the lives of young people. For example, over 160,000 young people have been through Active Communities Network programming in the UK and Ireland since 2007, with great success: 30,000 participants have moved into education, training or employment.

Former Ireland, British and Irish Lions and Leinster captain Brian O’Driscoll is the second most capped rugby player of all time. He played 133 times for his country, scoring 46 tries and winning one Six Nations Grand Slam in 2009. South African 2007 Rugby World Cup winner Bryan Habana was one of the most prolific try-scorers in world rugby, scoring 67 international tries in 124 caps, placing him second on the all-time try scorer list. Bryan famously equalled Jonah Lomu’s record of eight tries in a Rugby World Cup when he helped South Africa win the coveted trophy in 2007.

Laureus Academy Member Brian O’Driscoll, said: “I’m fortunate enough to have spent time visiting the inspirational programmes Laureus Sport for Good supports and they are genuinely changing lives. I’m excited to lead the Challenge Africa trek with Bryan and raise as much money as possible for these great causes."

“Neither of us have any trekking experience so it’s going to be challenging and I’m sure the competitive edge will kick in between Bryan and I when the legs get tired. I’ve faced hostile environments playing rugby for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions in South Africa but I’ve never taken on any of the big five! I know who I’ll be sticking with if we come across any cheetahs!”

Laureus Ambassador Bryan Habana, said: “I’m proud to be joining Brian to lead Challenge Africa in my home country through the stunning Drakensberg Mountain range. I’m looking forward to showing South Africa’s incredible scenery and hospitality off to everyone joining the trek."

“I’m more comfortable running 100m than trekking 100km but life is all about challenging yourself and knowing where the funds are going will be motivation enough when times get tough. I’ve experienced Laureus Sport for Good’s programmes in my role as an Ambassador and I know that every cent we can raise will make a positive change for young people around the world.”

Globally, Laureus Sport for Good supports more than 160 programmes in over 40 countries who all use the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage. Each programme Laureus supports is measured against charitable standards set out by the United Nations, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Challenge Africa is the second Laureus-supported adventure Just Challenge have led, following last year’s Challenge Himalayas trek which raised over $350,000 for Laureus Sport for Good. Just Challenge delivers life changing adventures, for all abilities, with impact and meaning. They provide organisations with the opportunities to engage employees, clients and/or leaders through physical challenges.


An international day highlighting the bravery of meningitis survivors and those whose lives have been changed forever through losing someone to the disease is being backed by Meningitis Now, the UK’s leading meningitis charity.

World Meningitis Day (today - Wednesday 24 April), an initiative of the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO), focuses on ‘Life After Meningitis’.

Meningitis Now Chief Executive Dr Tom Nutt, said: “We know that life after meningitis is tough for many people and we want to use World Meningitis Day to showcase the bravery of meningitis survivors and those who have lost a loved one.

“Through our supporters telling their stories, raising awareness of the signs and symptoms and increasing vaccine knowledge, we can raise the profile of this devastating disease and help to reduce its impact for future generations.”

There are an estimated 22 cases of meningitis each day across the UK. The disease can strike in hours, but the after-effects, including deafness, limb loss and brain damage, can last a lifetime. Those who lose a loved one to the disease have their lives changed forever.

“On World Meningitis Day, as on every other day, we are here to help and support those who need us.” Tom added.

The charity is keen to use World Meningitis Day to promote its range of support services, including its recently-launched Rebuilding Futures Fund, which provides financial, practical and emotional support for people of all ages affected by meningitis.

“We’re not about quick fixes; we’re here to provide tailored support with long-term impact, that will really help people and families to rebuild their lives after meningitis," Tom said.

“We’re proud to provide this unique, life-changing support – the only meningitis organisation to do so in the UK.”

Other charity support activity includes its popular Family Days – regional fun days out for families affected by meningitis – and the Believe & Achieve programme especially for young people.

Meningitis Now is also launching its first Facebook fundraiser today (World Meningitis Day) to help fundraise for that support and calling on the public to contribute if they’re able to and make a difference for those impacted by meningitis in the future.

With the summer months fast approaching, many families are already looking at choosing their annual sunshine getaway. For those looking to swap the classic Mediterranean beach break or adrenaline-fueled theme park trip for a more exotic escape, the serene and subtropical Florida Keys offer an eco-friendly, adventure-focused getaway.

With the waters surrounding the southern Florida island chain designated as a National Marine Sanctuary, visitors can enjoy a range of active adventures that help them to truly immerse themselves in the destination -- all while leaving little trace of their travels.

Here are five low-impact and appealing ways to explore the Florida Keys this summer…

REEF: Visitors to Key Largo's John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the United States' first undersea park, can glimpse the Keys' serene underwater jungle on a glass bottom boat tour aboard the Spirit of Pennekamp catamaran. During the trip, families can view part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which protects the waters surrounding the entire island chain including the continental United States' only living coral barrier reef.

If visitors wish to learn more about the pioneering work being done above and below the water to protect the coral reefs, they can visit the Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo to discover efforts to grow and re-plant coral.

WALK: The Florida Keys History & Discovery Center is set to launch a new app, Walk Indian Key, in June that will help families go exploring on foot around the remote 11-acre Indian Key. Located half a mile offshore from the Upper Keys' Islamorada, the island is accessible by boat or kayak rentals from Robbie's Marina and is deserted except for the ruins of a town that existed in the early 1800s, when residents made their living from salvaging boats that ran aground on local reefs. The new app features a 12-stop tour and gives kids and parents alike insight into the island's surprising history, offering them the chance to channel their inner Robinson Crusoe.

NATURE: Believed to be the world's first state-licensed veterinary hospital dedicated to treating injured sea turtles, the Turtle Hospital in Marathon has released over 2,000 turtles back into their ocean home since 1986. Guided tours not only teach families about sea turtles but also offer a behind-the-scenes look at the rehabilitation facility and the chance to feed the permanent residents.

KAYAK: Join local legend, Captain Bill Keogh of Big Pine Kayak Adventures, for an eco-kayaking tour around the Lower Keys. Navigate the shallow waters surrounding the mangrove islands of the Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge and National Key Deer Refuge in sit-on-top kayaks to explore the backcountry's sponge and grass flats and mangrove forests during this unique nature experience.

CYCLE: Active visitors to Key West can take a guided bike tour around the picturesque island city with Key Lime Bike Tours. Along the route participants will see popular destinations such as Mallory Square, the former home of legendary author Ernest Hemingway, Key West's Historic Seaport district and the Southernmost Point, quite literally the southernmost location in the continental United States and just 90 miles from Cuba. For the grand finale, the tour ends with a stop for a mouth-watering slice of Key lime pie, a local delicacy.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee has appointed Martin Green CBE as its Chief Creative Officer, a role that will give him ultimate responsibility for the official opening and closing ceremonies and the wider cultural programme for the Games.

The announcement comes exactly one year on from Gold Coast 2018’s Closing Ceremony which incorporated Birmingham’s spectacular handover segment, produced by Green and performed live in Victoria Square.

Green, who has a huge amount of experience of working on global sporting events and major cultural celebrations, will take up his new role before the end of month. As Chief Creative Officer, he’ll also oversee the Queen’s Baton Relay and he’ll provide overarching direction for the team welcome ceremonies (performed when each competing nation and territory arrives at the athletes’ village), how the sports are presented and showcased in venues, medal ceremonies and spectator entertainment.

Reacting to the news that his application was successful, Green said: “Ever since working on last year’s ‘Go the Distance’ handover celebration, part of the Gold Coast 2018 closing ceremony, I knew I just had to be involved in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. I was blown away by the local performers who took part, as they were so talented and enthusiastic and I loved the way that the people in Birmingham and the region embraced the handover event.

“I can’t wait to get started and I'm delighted that I’ll be working with organisations from across Birmingham and the West Midlands once again. This region is overflowing with talented, creative people and I want to get their input and ideas, to ensure that the ceremonies and culture programme are dynamic, uniquely Birmingham and truly memorable.”

Green is a hugely experienced executive producer of ceremonies and cultural events, whose major achievements include working as Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, recruiting and leading the team of 500 people that successfully delivered the opening and closing ceremonies, the torch relays and victory ceremonies. He was alsoDirector of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, which saw him manage a ground-breaking 365 day world-class arts festival that reinvigorated Hull and fully engaged its residents, with nine out of ten local people attending at least one event.

John Crabtree, Chairman of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, welcomed Green’s appointment and said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Martin has joined our team and I am delighted that someone with such relevant experience will be helping us deliver the biggest sport and cultural event ever to be staged in this region. There was a strong vision in Birmingham’s bid and so an inspirational leader is needed to bring that vision to life and Martin definitely fits that description.

“Martin’s experience on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games made him the perfect candidate for this role on Birmingham 2022 and we were also impressed with the hugely successful handover event that Martin directed for Birmingham last year as, injust a few weeks, he orchestrated such a bold and brave live performance. I can’t wait to see what he will create for us over the next three years.”

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, was also pleased to hear the news and said: “The appointment of Martin is an incredibly significant step forward in the planning for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. His track record on the creative elements of major sporting events and festivals is second to none – and he showcased the very best of Birmingham to a global audience when delivering the city’s segment within the Gold Coast 2018 Closing and Handover Ceremony.

“Martin already has a great understanding of the city and the wider region. I am left in no doubt that his flair and artistic vision will ensure that the sporting and cultural aspects of the Birmingham Games are truly memorable.”

Green joins the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee at an exciting time as the team, which currently has around 30 people who are directly responsible for delivering the Games to be held in Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond, will soon be moving into new offices in Brindley Place, in Birmingham’s city centre.


Hong Kong has kept the crown as the most expensive city to buy property in, while two other Chinese cities also made the top five lists, according to new research that covers 35 cities around the globe.

The average price of property in the southeastern Chinese city, infamous for its unaffordability, is more than $1.2 million, which is 5.5 percent more than last year’s cost, real estate consultant CBRE said in the fifth edition of its Global Living report. Meanwhile, the price of buying an average prime property stands at nearly $6.9 million, making it the champion for luxury housing as well.

Last year’s hotspots managed to keep their positions in the rating, with Singapore coming in second, followed by Shanghai and Vancouver, with the average home costing between $815,000 and $874,000.

Shenzhen, a new addition to the report, took the fifth place and became the third Chinese city in the top five. The city is the tech capital of China and is located just 30 kilometers from the world’s most expensive urban center. It hosts the headquarters of many international and Chinese businesses, including Huawei, ZTE and Tencent.

Los Angeles, New York, London, Beijing, and Paris also made the top ten list of the world’s most expensive cities.

Hong Kong’s property market has long been known for its unaffordable prices. In June 2018, it achieved a world record with a single parking space being bought for a whopping $760,000.

Ceremonies have taken place to mark 100 years since the massacre in the Indian city of Amritsar.

Hundreds of Indian civilians were shot by British troops while attending a public meeting, in defiance of a ban by colonial authorities.

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the incident as a "tragedy" and "a shameful scar on British Indian history", but stopped short of the formal apology that some have called for.

British High Commissioner Dominic Asquith stopped short of a formal apology. Speaking at the scene in India as he laid a wreath, he said: “The revulsion that we felt at the time is still strong today.’ ‘You might want to rewrite history, as the Queen said, but you can’t. ‘What you can do, as the Queen said, is to learn the lessons of history. ‘I strongly believe we are.

“There is no question that we will always remember this. We will never forget what happened here.”

The death toll is disputed. An inquiry set up by the colonial authorities put the figure at 379, but Indian sources put it nearer to 1,000.

The vision for the brand is to celebrate individuality, by offering unique experiences through landmark hotels that have their own legacy and charm.

Speaking on the occasion, Puneet Chhatwal, chief executive, IHCL, said: “SeleQtions will allow IHCL to cater to a broader audience of travellers who prefer staying in hotels with a distinctive character.

“SeleQtions also includes hotels that have a slice of history, defining location or a differentiated theme.

“We believe the brand has immense potential to grow.”

The 12 hotels in the first phase include properties present in seven key lodging markets of India: President, Mumbai; Ambassador, New Delhi; The Connaught, New Delhi; Blue Diamond, Pune; Cidade de Goa; Tajview, Agra and Devi Ratn, Jaipur.

The other hotels are Pratap Mahal Ajmer; Savoy, Ooty; Gateway Coonoor; Gateway Chikmagalur and Gateway Varkala.

For those hotels which are independent – IHCL offers its robust infrastructure including global reservation systems, the award-winning Taj InnerCircle loyalty program and sales and marketing support.

Antigua & Barbuda’s Tourism Delegation led by the Hon. H. Charles Fernandez held a series of meetings with the country’s critical cruise line Partners at Seatrade Cruise Global, the cruise industry’s largest annual conference being held at the newly rebuilt Miami Beach Convention Centre.

The annual Seatrade Cruise Global Conference presented Antigua and Barbuda with a not to be missed opportunity to showcase its products and services to the cruise industry buyers and decision makers. It provided unique networking opportunities with industry leaders from all facets of the industry, and exposed its tourism executives to the conference’s educational industry programs, which allows participants to stay ahead of the curve.

The Country’s vibrant destination booth was a hub of activity as Antigua and Barbuda tourism officials conducted a series of one-on-one meetings, and media interviews.

In its communication to the major cruise lines the destination provided updates to its industry partners on its recently announced partnership with Global Port Holdings (GPH) and the Government’s strategic plans to expand the St. John’s Port facilities, to position the destination to take advantage of the growing industry trend towards larger cruise ships.

GPH also used the opportunity to announce its partnership with its two new Caribbean destinations Antigua and Barbuda and the Bahamas at a gala reception attended by over 600 cruise industry stakeholders.

In meeting after meeting Cruise-line executives reconfirmed their support for the initiative taken by Antigua & Barbuda to improve its infrastructure to offer the best possible service to cruise passengers. This more than anything else will ensure it remains well positioned as a premier cruise destination of choice within the Caribbean on many of the cruise line itineraries.

A major increase for the destination comes from a Key European cruise line partner TUI Cruises whose new ship the Mein Schiff 2, will increase calls to the destination after an absence of three years. Mein Schiff 2 will visit the destination on its inaugural call on November 6th with a total of 13 calls for season 2019/20 bringing over 37,000 passengers.

Another key Partner Norwegian Cruise Lines will return with the Norwegian “Epic” which was a diversion that has now become permanent, along with the Norwegian “Bliss” in the breakaway plus class. This ship will make its inaugural call on December 9th with over 4,000 passengers.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) one of the Country’s key partners confirmed that larger ships will be serving the destination this upcoming season and we will see an increase to approximately 250,000 passengers this year from its various lines. Antigua and Barbuda continues to record strong customer satisfaction scores of 8.8 out of a maximum of 10 with RCCL guests.

MSC cruise lines the world’s fastest growing cruise line, indicated Antigua is and will continue to be a key port of call as the company has 10 new ships on order and will be increasing its fleet to 29 ships with the delivery of one new ship per year up to 2027.

In a joint meeting with representatives for all the Carnival Corporation Cruise Lines the commitment was given at the highest level by all the attendee member lines to continue to work together with Antigua and Barbuda to our mutual benefit.

The Country’s presence at Seatrade also facilitates local stakeholder partners to also meet cruise line executives to increase their tours and excursion business. Local partners included Wadadli Cats, South American Ventures Ltd, The Rendezvous Company and Tropical Adventures.

Minister of Tourism the Hon. Charles Fernandez in all meetings thanked our cruise line partners for their support over the years and reconfirmed our commitment to work with all partners for win-win outcomes as the country continues on its development path to be a premier port of call for all cruise lines visiting the Caribbean.

The Industry leaders have reported that 2018 was the best year for profitability and have forecasted that, with a record orderbook for 70 new ships over the next three years and a record 25 million set to cruise in 2019, the Caribbean continues to be the world’s number one cruising destination.

The renewed focus on improving our infrastructure by the Government has now positioned the destination to increase its share of this business,” said Minister Fernandez.


Ahead of the Arabian Hotel Investment Forum, Marriott International expects to add 19 new properties and more than 3,000 rooms to its Middle East and Africa portfolio in 2019.

Underpinning a strong demand for its diverse brands, the new additions are in line with the company’s expansion plans to add more than 100 new properties and nearly 26,000 rooms across the region by the end of 2023.

Marriott estimates its development pipeline through 2023 represents up to $8 billion of investment from property owners and is expected to generate over 20,000 new jobs across the region.

“Our growth across the Middle East and Africa is fuelled by a strong demand for our diverse range of well-established brands, each offering different attributes that cater to this region’s ever changing and evolving marketplace,” said Jerome Briet, chief development officer, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International.

“This region continues to present us with opportunities to further grow and enhance our portfolio across new and established markets.

“While the majority of our growth will be through new-builds, we are seeing an increasing number of conversion opportunities, especially in the luxury space.”

Year-to-date, the company has opened five new properties in the region and is expected to add 14 more – bringing its portfolio across the Middle East and Africa to nearly 270 properties and over 60,000 rooms – by the end of the year.

The company is poised to expand its luxury footprint in the region by more than 70 per cent by the end of 2023, with more than 25 luxury properties under development.

The company expects to grow its luxury portfolio in 2019 with seven anticipated openings across four brands, including W Hotels, St. Regis, the Luxury Collection and JW Marriott.

The growth of Marriott’s premium brands also remains steady across the region with more than 30 hotels expected to be added to the portfolio by the end of 2023.

By the end of 2019, the company expects to have added four new hotels under the Autograph Collection, Marriott Hotels and Marriott Executive Apartments brands.

In addition to the openings in 2019, Marriott is also focused on the transformation journey of Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, the company’s most global brand.

In the region, Sheraton Jeddah Hotel and Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai are currently undergoing renovations that represent the brand’s vision for the future.

Currently representing over 40 per cent of the company’s development pipeline through 2023, select-serve brands continue their rapid growth trajectory across the Middle East and Africa.

Building on the momentum from 2018 – with ten properties added across the region, including four Aloft hotels in the UAE – the company expects to add seven new properties by the end of this year.

A Commonwealth group is observing Maldives’ 2019 parliamentary elections as the nation elects 87 members to parliament for the next five years.

The former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, is leading the group of eight Commonwealth observers. He was at Kurumba Island in Male atoll when the voting started. During the day, he will visit polling stations in the capital to observe how the elections are being carried out.

Prime Minister Golding said: “This election is an opportunity for the people of Maldives to continue to shape and strengthen their democracy by voting for leaders who are committed to realising their aspirations.

“On behalf of the observers, I wish the people of Maldives well as they prepare once again to exercise their democratic right to vote.”

This is Maldives’ 11th parliamentary elections and 386 candidates from 10 political parties are competing in the poll today.

264,442 Maldivians are registered to vote according to the Election Commission of Maldives. 501 ballot boxes have been set up across the country and additional eight ballot boxes are available overseas.

Observers have been deployed to various atolls in small teams since 4 April. They observed the campaign environment in those areas ahead of the polling day. They were present when the voting began this morning at 8.00 am and will observe voting and counting processes until polls close at 4.00 pm.

The Chair, Prime Minister Golding, will present the group’s initial findings at a press conference on 9 April in Male and a final report will be made available to the public at a later stage.

After withdrawing from the Commonwealth in 2016, Maldives has recently expressed an interest in re-joining the organisation. The Election Commission of Maldives invited the Commonwealth to observe the April elections. The findings of the observers will be considered as part of the Secretary-General’s ongoing informal assessment of Maldives reapplication.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade congratulates Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. on his recent appointment as Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC).

Minister Charles Jr., had responsibility for the Diaspora and other regional portfolios at the Foreign Ministry, served as Minister of State since April 2018.

In expressing her commendations and well wishes, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, noted that Minister Charles Jr added a new and youthful energy to his portfolio responsibilities and that he will be greatly missed by the team.

Minister Johnson Smith recalled that Minister Charles Jr, always presented himself with professionalism and showed a willingness and passion for Jamaica’s foreign policy. She said, “I speak on behalf of the Jamaica’s Foreign Service in wishing Minister Charles Jr. all the best in his new role. With his proven track record at the Ministry of National Security and at the Foreign Affairs, I am confident he will make significant strides at the Ministry of Economic Growth”.

The newly appointed Cabinet Minister also commended Minister Johnson Smith and the Foreign Affairs Ministry on their stewardship of Jamaica’s Foreign Policy. “I am proud to have witnessed and participated in the diligent and efficient delivery of the Ministry’s mandate of national development through foreign policy execution, under the leadership of Minister Johnson Smith. As I express my willingness and anticipation of contributing to Jamaica’s infrastructural development as Minister in (MEGJC), I say thank you to the wonderful Foreign Service family and its Missions overseas for such an opportunity to represent Jamaica across the world”




Jeremy Clarkson has today backed Extinction Rebellion’s call for International Rebellion and nonviolent civil disobedience in light of the inaction of Government in the face of the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

The TV presenter said: “I know that people may think of me as a petrol head but given the daily news about changes to the climate and the world around us, I have been considering changing from car racing to carpooling.

“I have been so deeply inspired by the work of Greta Thunberg, the Swedish activist who sparked off the Global School Strike movement. Last night in her acceptance acceptance speech at the Golden Camera Awards - Germany’s most prestigious media awards - she said that celebrities must use their fame to do more to support the movement to address climate change, saying “people see you celebrities as gods, you influence billions of people, we need you, you can use your voice to raise awareness about this global crisis”.

“Greta, you went to Davos by train from Sweden, while the great and good of the world flew. Your actions have made me think, think about the world that we are leaving for our children. It is time that we adults make some changes, so that we can safeguard their future, and the future of their children to come. For this reason, I’m giving my backing to Extinction Rebellion as it clear the Government is not acting. There have been petitions, marching, lobbying, but it has not worked. It is now time for more radical action, for civil disobedience, for each one of us to find our power within and to collectively create a better world together.”

Extinction Rebellion in a statement said: “It is fantastic that Jeremy Clarkson has chosen to take this step and we hope that he will open the gates so that all of these hugely influential people do the right thing and use their fame to alert the world that this is the greatest crisis in history. Unless we move to an emergency footing immediately and governments start to cooperate to find ways to address climate breakdown, we are risking unimaginable horrors and a hell-like existence for our young to inherit.”

“This needs to be a time when celebrities join us and engage in nonviolent civil disobedience with us - not as celebrities but as members of the human race who care enough about future generations to put their bodies in front of their convictions and stand with us as we take action. Jeremy Clarkson is leading the way.”

Beginning Monday April 15, Extinction Rebellion in the UK and around the world is calling for an International Rebellion to demand decisive action on the climate and ecological collapse from governments around the world. They say ‘Come to stay, book two weeks, and bring your tents and family. Let’s rebel for all life on earth’.

Pakistan have been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate against Australia in the fourth ODI in Dubai.

Jeff Crowe of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees imposed the fine after Imad Wasim’s side was ruled to be one over short of its target after time allowances were taken into consideration.

In accordance with Article 2.22 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to minor over-rate offences, players are fined 10 per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.

As such, Imad has been fined 20 per cent of his match fee, while his players have received 10 per cent fines. If Pakistan commit another minor over-rate breach in an ODI within 12 months of this offence with Imad as captain, it will be deemed a second offence by him and Imad will face a suspension.

Imad pleaded guilty to the offence after the end of the match and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing. On-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Rashid Riaz, third umpire Michael Gough and fourth umpire Ahsan Raza levelled the charge.


Ethiopian Airlines, has been chosen as the Official Carrier for the 2019 World Press Freedom Day Global Conference to be held in Addis Ababa from May 1-3..

This conference is not without controversy, however.  According to Journalists without Border, terrorism charges have been systematically used against journalists ever since the 2009 terrorism law took effect. The charges carry long jail sentences and allow the authorities to hold journalists without trial for extended periods. There has been no significant improvement since the purges that led to the closure of six newspapers in 2014 and drove around 30 journalists into exile. On the contrary, another six-month state of emergency was proclaimed in February 2018, which the government could again use to arrest critical journalists and ban the public from watching or listening to certain broadcast media. The Internet and social networks are often disconnected while physical and verbal threats, arbitrary trials, and convictions are all used to silence the media.

The conference is jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Union and the Government of Ethiopia under the theme ‘Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation’.

UNESCO Spokesperson Roni Amerlan said: ” The offer by countries to host World Press Freedom Day marks their recognition of the value of the right to press freedom and freedom of expression.

We have often held World Press Freedom Day celebrations in countries in transition and we do not think that we should restrict our support for the recognition of press freedom and their participation in this awareness-raising event to countries which rank at the top of NGOs’ rankings.

Every year, 3 May is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991. This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration(link is external) on media pluralism and independence.

At the core of UNESCO’s mandate is freedom of the press and freedom of expression. UNESCO believes that these freedoms allow for mutual understanding to build a sustainable peace.

It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.

It is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.

3 May acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.

The 26th celebration of World Press Freedom Day is jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Union Commission and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The main event will take place in Addis Ababa, on 1 – 3 May at the African Union Headquarters. This year’s theme'Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation'  discusses current challenges faced by media in elections, along with the media’s potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.

World Press Freedom Day will also be celebrated worldwide. Events will be organized in several countries to raise awareness about the importance of press freedom and journalists’  safety. More information of events will be available in the Events Map soon.

As the United Nations agency with a specific mandate to promote “the free flow of ideas by word and image”, UNESCO works to foster a free, independent and pluralistic media and the safety of journalists.

As the official carrier, Ethiopian will provide air transport service to the 1000-1500 participants who will be coming to Addis Ababa from around the globe.

Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, remarked, “We are honored to have been chosen to serve as the official carrier for this year’s World Press Freedom Day Global Conference. We are all the more delighted to be part of this noble cause which seeks to advance press freedom around the world.

Global, regional and national media stakeholders, high-level government officials, and journalists from across the globe will take part in the conference which will be held at the African Union Commission headquarters.


Travellers have been warned to think twice when packing their bags after researchers named some of the more unusual items banned around the world.

Baby walkers and chewing gum were just two of the items which some nations won’t allow to cross their borders, experts have revealed.

They warned all travellers to research what is and isn’t allowed into their destination country and said failure to comply could result in serious legal action overseas.

Unusual banned items include baby walkers in Canada and certain masks in Saudi Arabia, due to the popularity of a particular Hollywood blockbuster.

A spokesperson from explained: “Prohibited items are usually down to risks to domestic citizens such as weapons, however some lawmakers abroad have taken this a step further.

“Being found with prohibited items can lead to the traveller facing hefty fines which is the last thing anyone would want on a holiday.

“Granted, most people won’t be planning on taking a wheelbarrow abroad but it’s still interesting to consider why these items aren’t allowed to be imported.

“By spending a few minutes simply checking up on what is allowed into the particular country you’re going to, you can avoid any issues whilst travelling abroad.”

Here is the list of strangest items banned across the world:

  1. Baby Walkers
Due to health concerns, baby walkers in Canada are banned from being sold or imported. If found guilty of advertising or attempting to purchase the item, it could lead to a $100,000 fine or a six months jail sentence. Researchers in Canada claimed that baby walkers endanger children and delay both motor and mental development. After 15 years of retailers voluntarily refusing to sell the item, a bill was passed in 2004.
  1. Gum
Since 1992 chewing gum has been banned from being consumed or bought into Singapore. This was due to a previous prime minister noticing how much money was spent on cleaning gum off the streets and issuing a crackdown on cleanliness. Nowadays gum is still prohibited unless for a medical necessity (for which documentation must be provided). Streets and monuments are no longer paved with gum and if found on a person can result in a substantial fine, alongside being named and shamed by the local government.
  1. Masks
Seven years after the popular movie V for Vendetta was released, the Minister of Interior for Saudi Arabia banned the selling and importing of Guy Fawkes masks made popular by the film. This was under the premise that the film ‘installs a culture of violence and extremism’ in young people. The government later went on to destroy the masks already in country.
  1. Haggis
Patriotic Scots will be disappointed to know that traditional haggis has been banned from entering the US for over 44 years. The US department of Agriculture banned the import of British lamb following the outbreak of mad cow disease. Many retailers have opted to replace the core ingredient of sheep lung to break into the American market.
  1. Wheelbarrows
Nigeria has placed restrictions on many imports including wheelbarrows, much to the dismay of many green fingered travellers. The bill was placed in order to encourage a thriving domestic economy. However, you can purchase wheelbarrows once in the country from a local merchant.
  1. Japanese shaving brushes
Due to a contamination scandal in the early 1900s, Saint Lucia has banned all imports of shaving brushes produced in Japan due to incidents involving anthrax which lead to serious health problems. The ban has never been lifted in Sant Lucia even with assurances from Japan of safe products.
  1. Vicks inhalers
Due to Japan’s extremely strict anti-stimulant drug laws, any drugs containing pseudoephedrine such as Vicks inhalers are banned from the country. The popular decongestant could land a suffering Brit in prison if not careful. Instead substitute Vicks for essential oils as a natural DIY alternative.
  1. Honey
Zimbabwean honey is famous around the globe especially in Europe known for its high quality often referred to ‘liquid gold’. The country has now banned any imports of honey from abroad due to the fear of low quality ‘fake’ honey flooding the market as it has abroad. However, Zimbabwe has been criticised to not taking full advantage of the export potential only making just enough to satisfy domestic needs, missing out on the European market.


A statue of Ethiopia's last emperor, Haile Selassie, has been unveiled outside the African Union's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in recognition for his role in establishing its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

Ethiopia - which has never been colonised although it was subjected to a five-year military occupation by Mussolini's Italy - had served as a symbol of African independence throughout the colonial period.

Marcus Garvey told his followers in 1920 that they should "look to Africa, when a Black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand". When a man called Ras Tafari was crowned in Ethiopia, in 1930, many saw that as a sign Garvey’s prophecy had come true.

His appeal to the League of Nations after his country was invaded by Mussolini's Italy is still remembered today.

The statue reminds people that he was a great advocate for pan-African cooperation, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to have an effect on millions of people across the continent today.