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Two Years of WWE in Saudi Arabia and Growing Resistance of Superstars

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The World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE is going to Saudi Arabia for another international pay-per-view event, and the drama around it has sprung up already.

This year, the show is likely to take place on February 20— a stop gap between the Royal Rumble this month and the Elimination Chamber in March. However, The Observer stated that it could be on February 27, and that the information could have been kept low-key in wake of the issues of last event and the ongoing crisis in the Middle East.

WWE and Saudi’s General Sports Authority sealed the controversial deal in 2018, where the Kingdom received opportunity to host the pay-per-views for 10 years on their soil. In last two years, the wrestling firm hosted the Greatest Royal Rumble, Super Showdown and a pair of Crown Jewel events in Riyadh.

There still remains eight years of the contract, but with only two years and more shows passing, an increasing number of the WWE stars are denied to fly to Saudi Arabia. Superstars John Cena, Kevin Owens and Daniel Bryan, refused to visit the Kingdom for previous shows in 2018, citing the country’s human rights issues.

Moreover, the last fall’s trip to Saudi further brought down the country’s reputation before the WWE superstars. In November, a number of superstars were stranded after “mechanical problems” with the plane that was bound to return to the United States, during the 2019 Crown Jewel. Besides, the country also refused to turn down its ultra-conservative laws, due to which the women wrestlers were seen battling in full-covered dress code of bodysuits and baggy t-shirts.

The failures of Saudi Arabia’s last event forced more wrestlers to put a red cross on the country. According to the reports, many informed the WWE that they are already planning to not attend the event in the Kingdom next month.

The WrestlingNews.co reported, “Now, with the heightened tensions in the Middle East, specifically the recent issues in Iran, there are more wrestlers questioning whether they should fly out for the next show. I was told that at least two more wrestlers have decided against going to the next Saudi Arabia show.”

It was estimated that WWE in Saudi Arabia possibly earns close to $50 million per year. The annual revenue from such deals explain the firm’s elongated contracts and its capability of handing out lucrative contracts even to the midcard players.

Besides, some of the recent events of the professional wrestling organizers have been “paid shows”, which are conducted on a deal where the host country pays for the show. This enabled the WWE to grace the overseas events with tons of star powers, despite them being not more that the glorified house shows.

Consequently, Saudi Arabia emerged a perfect example, where the pay-per-views have not just been a public relations misfortune for WWE, while the shows also didn’t receive laudable reviews from the viewers. Besides, the WWE-Saudi relationship has long been under the fire of criticism on several issues, where the Kingdom also prohibited superstars like Aleister Black and Sami Zayn from wrestling on the show for some absurd reasons.

Despite the cold fan reception, the WWE-Saudi relationship continue, as the Kingdom is one of the biggest moneymaking options for the wrestling firm. However, while the company is keeping the knot tied, a considerable majority of fans and now even more wrestlers decided to turn their faces to Saudi Arabia.

With still eight years remaining to the deal, it is to be seen if the growing resistance of players and fans towards Saudi Arabia will persuade WWE to break the contract or not.

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India Cheers Trump-Modi as They Pat Each Other’s Back in Ahmedabad

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Setting in the world’s biggest cricket stadium in India, the US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnessed a sea of crowd, as they took the centre stage in Ahmedabad. Dubbed as “Namaste Trump” — “welcome Trump” in English — the Trump-Modi union invited more than 125,000 people on hand, who danced and chanted names of the leaders.

“America loves India, respects India,” said Trump as he stepped out to address the rally, to roars of approval. “India gives hope to all of humanity,” he added.

Donald Trump, having recently been acquitted of impeachment charges, landed in India just at the right time to showcase his cross-border popularity. Meanwhile, for Modi, it was an equivalent opportunity to prove India’s standing to the world, amidst economic slowdown.

The stage was, therefore, perfectly set for the two populists, who enthusiastically displayed friendly relationship at “Namaste Trump”. President Trump at first emanated how Modi is an “exceptional leader … and a man I am proud to call my true friend,” adding that “everybody loves him but I will tell you this, he is very tough”.

“You are not just the pride of Gujarat, you are living proof that with hard work, Indians can accomplish anything they want,” Trump said.

At the same time, Modi seemed equally exuberant in his compliments for the US President and said: “India-US relations are no longer just another partnership, it’s a far greater and closer relationship.”

Putting their friendship at display, Trump-Modi were also spotted at Sabarmati Ashram, alongside first lady Melania Trump. It was home for 13 years to the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, who was born in Gujarat. Trump and first lady even tried their hand at the charkha or spinning wheel, which was a mark of India’s growing resistance to foreign products during the British Raj.

But amid the fanfare, it seems little significant that any deal would be signed between the US-India in Trump’s 36 hours stay in the Asian nation. Even in his speech, Trump made no major mention about signing an accord with India, as he continuously flipped between references to Bollywood, famous cricket players, Diwali, Mahatma Gandhi and Modi’s “moving” rags to riches life story.

What’s Happening in India?

India and especially the nation’s capital Delhi, has been a hot-bed of protests since December, when the government of India passed the controversial citizenship law. The ruling gives citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants of three neighbouring nations.

The action has prompted protests across the nation, with critics accusing government of making the Muslim minority of India feel marginalized. Only yesterday, in a fight between those in favor of the citizenship law and those against it, resulted in a death of police officer in New Delhi.

The moves have also raised questions over Modi’s leadership, with the Prime Minister accused of fueling insurgency via his decisions. Yet, little harm has it done to his popularity, as he and his Hindu-nationalist government have still surged and announced new policies that they deem as beneficial to India. Where the people have been protesting for their rights in past few weeks, the Trump-Modi reunion in Ahmedabad reflected the Indian authorities’ lack of concern for the civilians’ issues. Trump’s visit to India has only made it evident that the bigotry fight in the country is ought to continue for more than just a while.

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Diamond Princess: Americans Evacuated While Others Still Wait in Cabins

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A growing global health issue, novel coronavirus has become a vexatious threat for thousands of people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is docked in Japan from past two weeks. A couple of passengers got relief on Sunday night, when a powerful nation came to their rescue. But the frustration doubled up for many, who still remain under a mandatory quarantine, and are stuck in their cabins on the cruise ship.

Two charter aircrafts from the US arrived in Japan, evacuated their citizens from the cruise and left on Sunday. All the passengers were put through rigorous tests before they were allowed to board the flights. Besides, those infected with the virus were transferred to a Japanese hospital for treatment. The planes were expected to arrive in the US later Monday morning.

The Diamond Princess was docked-off at the Yokohama port on February 3, with nearly 3,600 people on-board. However, it was put into quarantine after disembarking, as an 80-year-old man was diagnosed with the SARS-CoV-19 coronavirus. A citizen of Hong Kong, he went on the ship in January. The outbreak has since hit 356 people, with 70 cases announced on Sunday.

The cruise now possesses the largest concentration of coronavirus cases outside the mainland China. Earlier this month, experts casted doubt over Japanese government’s decision of keeping the passengers of the Diamond Princess in quarantine. They also warned that it was not the best way to deal with the situation. On February 7, there were 61 cases on the ship, which rose to 356 in merely 10 days.

“I don’t understand why they have to be kept on a ship,” stated Peter Hotez, of the Baylor College of Medicine. “We’re employing what I call 14th-century approaches and ethics to individuals with transmissible disease.”

The controversial quarantine period of the passengers on-board was expected to end on February 19, prior to which the US sent an email to its citizens recommending them to “disembark and return to the United States for further monitoring”. There were 428 Americans aboard the Diamond Princess, 44 of which were reportedly tested positive of the epidemic.

Passengers had to choose, if they wanted to return to the US on the airplanes. However, they were required to undergo another 14 days of quarantine. “We understand this is frustrating and an adjustment, but these measures are consistent with the careful policies we have instituted to limit the potential spread of the disease,” email from the US embassy read.

Moreover, the American passengers, who chose to not take the flight were obligated to remain in quarantine for addition 14 days in Japan to ensure being symptom-free before returning to the US.

While the US has already evacuated its citizens from the Diamond Princess, countries like Australia, Canada and Hong Kong are also expected to follow the suit.

Although appreciated, the decisions by these nations have come too late to save people from the spreading virus. What began with a single infected person on the cruise, has now affected hundreds of others in a matter of few days. Had the screening and evacuations taken place on February 3 itself, the statistics would have been different on the Diamond Princess.

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Trump’s India Visit: Leaders of the Two Nations Unite on Division Wall

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Trump’s India Visit: Leaders of the Two Nations Unite on Division Wall

President Trump’s India visit will soon be taking place, and Prime Minister Modi is ready to welcome him in a total Trump-way!

Seclusion and suppression— the idea of two political leaders reached a common ground of thoughts, maybe in a mere coincidence. The like-minded, US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon be meeting in person for the first time on the Indian soil.

Last week, the White House confirmed that the President will be accompanied by the US First Lady Melania Trump. The two-day trip on February 24 is likely to “strengthen the United States-India strategic partnership” that has been bruised by trade disputes.

The US President is scheduled to visit New Delhi, the Indian capital, and Ahmedabad, the city in PM Modi’s home state Gujarat. “This visit is a very special one and it will go a long way in further cementing India-US friendship,” Modi wrote in a tweet, on Wednesday.

However, in his efforts of “cementing” India’s ties with the US, the Indian PM took a decision of concealing certain localities of his home town, which are apparently disturbing his sight, but not his powerful position. Inspired by Trump, PM Modi, who claims to be a man for public, decided to leave an estimate of 800 families behind a wall.

Over 150 masons in India are working “round-the-clock” to build a 400-meter-long and seven-feet-high wall in Ahmedabad, so that the US President does not catch a glimpse of the large slum district.

The move was defended by a senior government official, who said that the wall was instead being built for security reasons. However, a contractor constructing it confirmed that it was a part of a “beautification and cleanliness” drive, and that the Indian government “did not want the slum to be seen” during President Trump’s India trip.

Indian PM’s decision proved to be a quick call for criticism from hundreds of people, who pointed out Modi’s hypocrisy of laying the “Gujarat model” of development and concealing the underdeveloped areas. In 2017, Modi introduced a model dedicated to the development and enhancement of Gujarat’s infrastructure. After two years, the plans appear unachieved.

“Modi is building the ‘Wall’ so he can hide slums when Trump visits his ‘Gujarat Model’,” wrote Ashok Swain, a professor of Peace and Conflict Research in Sweden.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has also been a stern president for most time since taking office, where his demand for a Mexico border wall was a constant agenda. Consequently, Modi’s wall against slum is being considered a replica of Trump’s wall against migrants.

“Mexican didn’t pay but Modi pays for Trump’s Wall,” tweeted Swain.

Trump’s India visit will mark the first day at Ahemdabad’s Sardar Patel Stadium for an extravaganza dubbed “Kem Chho Trump” (“How are you, Trump”). Organized on the similar lines of the “Howdy Modi” event, it will be attended by a crowd of more than 100,000 people who will welcome the US President.

It would be interesting to see what the two leaders, who divide by walls, will achieve after ten days, when they unite.

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War in Yemen: Spree of Hostilities Surround as Militias Down War Jet

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War in Yemen: Spree of Hostilities Surround as Militias Down War Jet

From bloodshed to famine, the war in Yemen once again marked destruction after a Saudi fighter jet crashed in the war-torn nation, the Saudi-led military coalition backing the government said.

A coalition spokesman affirming the news said that a Saudi Tornado fighter jet had “fallen” whilst orchestrating a support mission near Yemeni army units. No official word on the number of causalities was made public.

The responsibility for the attack was taken by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who via Houthis’ al-Masirah television channel claimed that the plane was shot down using an advanced surface-to-air missile.

However, the very next day after the Houthi’s shot down the plane, multiple reports emerged on Saudi-led coalition’s airstrike in the Houthi dominated area. The bombing has reportedly left 31 civilians dead, the United Nations said.

The war in Yemen has been a center point of destruction since the unrest began five years ago. The political conflict that has drawn multiple foreign parties to restore peace, has resulted in more deaths and carnage instead.

While the Saudi-led coalition – backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – appears to be fighting Houthi militias to restore the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, has actually made Yemen a proxy war playground.

The fighting has already surpassed 10,000 deaths, with civilians suffering because of the lack of food, sanitation, medicine and other basic amenities. There have also been multiple reports on Yemeni’s surviving on boiled leaves, and some even starving to death because of food scarcity. Ironically, to top it the airstrikes have also become a regularity, inflicting wounds and inviting catastrophe at large.

The foreplay in Yemen has left the nation in evil hands, having no control over their ill-deeds. Meanwhile, the alliance in Saudi-UAE and the opposition in Houthi’s have shown no backing down. And the support of western nations including, the US and UK for the supply of weaponry, has made matters worse than ever before.

“So many people are being killed in Yemen – it’s a tragedy and it’s unjustified. Under international humanitarian law parties which resort to force are obligated to protect civilians. Five years into this conflict and belligerents are still failing to uphold this responsibility. It’s shocking,” Lise Grande, the UN’s resident humanitarian coordinator in Yemen said.

Only on Wednesday, the Saudi-led coalition assumed responsibility to put on trial the personnel suspected of carrying out unlawful airstrikes on Yemeni civilians. Forgetting which, three days later, they killed another 31 in a war that has set ablaze the worst humanitarian crisis ever witnessed.

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Australian Fires Put 113 Animal Species on the Verge of Extinction

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Australian Fires Put 113 Animal Species on the Verge of Extinction

In a tussle for survival, the fittest can overcome all the odds. But with Australian fires, the resistance has reached a breaking point even for the most suited. Facing the menacing impact following wildfires, more than 100 species of animals in Australia stand on the verge of extinction, a new study has revealed.

As per a panel of experts appointed by the Australian government, as many as 113 native animal species are in need of help to bypass the problems caused by the Australian fires. Some of these are also classified as facing imminent extinction. Besides, almost all of the 113 species have already lost at least 30 per cent of their habitat, while some have lost even big numbers.

As reported, the list of species under threat includes 13 birds, 19 mammals, 20 reptiles, 17 frogs, five invertebrates, 22 spiny crayfish, and 17 freshwater fish species. The panel informed that it still has not been able to establish the full extent of damage because many areas still remain out of reach.

Researches earlier said that Australian fires had taken the lives of more than 1 billion animals living across forests and grasslands in its swathe. However, a provisional list released on Tuesday, reduced the count whilst handpicking those in urgent need for help.

The Greater Risk

Of the 113 species identified by the government panel, Kangaroo Island dunnart, the northern corroboree frog, the Blue Mountains water skink, and the Kangaroo Island glossy black cockatoo are at greater risk. Meanwhile, Kangaroo Island situated off the coast of South Australia, suffered an even bigger blow after the fire eliminated tens of thousands of Koalas.

A Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy report released last month found that 272 plant species are also prone to vanquishing as a result of fire crisis. Other than animals being wiped out by the fire, the crisis is also having a bad impact on a lot of unconsidered factors.

“All the animals that have survived not only have no place to go back to, they don’t have food sources left. In a fire the insects get wiped out too, the smaller animals who eat ants and other insects won’t have food. Possums and gliders, if there are any left – most of them have been killed – they eat leaves and fruit, which have all been destroyed,” University of Sydney ecologist Doctor Valentina Mella said.

Raising Money for Bushfires

There have been various campaigns to raise funds for the Australian fires. And a match between Ponting XI and Gilchrist XI featuring legends of cricket was recently played for the same cause.

The Great Britain women’s hockey squad also took the big step to raise the funds for bushfires. The 26 players in the squad reportedly signed a brand new stick and said that the winning school or club will receive the prize from their behalf. The team also informed that prize will be shipped worldwide so that “everyone can make a difference”.

Social media has also come to the aid, with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram being the difference makers. As reported last month, Facebook alone had helped raise $73 million for the fire relief work.

You can also do your bit and make a big difference!

The best thing about social media is that it is accessible to one and all just the same and reaches every part of the world, ensuring that help comes from every nook and corner of the world. By visiting the given link(s), you can also contribute to a great humanitarian cause.

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