Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore
COVID-19 is generating an unprecedented global economic crisis. And as we witness in all such crises, this economic destruction is cruelly and unequally distributed.
“For the world’s poorest countries, the financial fallout caused by the pandemic, combined with debilitating debt-service obligations, are hampering their ability to prevent further transmission and protect citizens.
“And for the families within those countries, with widespread loss of income and limited access to food in environments where social distancing is impossible, soap and water for hand washing a luxury, and quality health services non-existent, the situation is already dire, and it is only going to get worse.
“While children are largely spared the immediate health consequences of the pandemic, they will suffer the economic destruction left in its wake. More than 200 million children live in debt-distressed countries and those at high risk of debt distress. The burden of debt leaves countries struggling to prevent disease transmission.
“Low-income countries in particular are being forced to drastically increase spending to respond to the health emergency, while scaling up – or, in some cases, creating – social protection systems including unconditional cash transfers, guarantee of income for those who lose their jobs and employment security.
“The additional spending required must not come at the cost of other critical services for children, such as routine immunization, maternity care, and child protection. At this crucial time, countries need to spend more to protect the future of their children.
“To reduce disease transmission and prevent further economic catastrophe, UNICEF wholeheartedly joins The World Bank President and IMF Managing Director in their call for debt relief and debt restructuring for countries in need.”
“As the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres noted in his recent letter to the G20, debt restructuring is a priority — including immediate waivers on interest payments for 2020. By relaxing the burden of debt financings, countries are more likely to deliver the agile and aggressive response required to reduce the impact of the economic crisis and stop COVID-19 in its tracks.”
###For more information about COVID-19 and guidance on how to protect children and families, visit: www.unicef.org/coronavirus
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
Saudi Arabia has banned pilgrims from taking selfie photos and videos using any devices for any purpose at Islam’s two holiest mosques, effective immediately.
Indonesia’s Jakarta Post reports that visitors to the Haram in Makkah and Masjid-un-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) will be prohibited from taking photographs or videos at the two holy sites.
Saudi authorities say the ban will prevent unnecessary disturbances for those who wish to worship without distractions.
The Jakarta Post also reports that security guards have been instructed to “confiscate the photos and the camera if needed.
With the advent and advancement of camera smartphones in recent years, many pilgrims to both holy sites have posted pictures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter which shows their favourite scenes including tawaaf (circumambulation) around the Kaaba, trying to kiss Hajre Aswad (the black stone) or standing near the green dome of the Prophet’s (PBUH) masjid.
Several scholars have spoken out against “selfie fever” as “touristy behaviour”.
Famous scholar Sheikh Abdul Razzaq Al-Badr warned against taking photos during Haj, saying: “When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reached the Miqaat he would say: ‘0 Allah make this a Hajj without riya (showing off) and without trying to be heard of.’
A magnificent picture of sweethearts kissing underwater was a ‘dream come true’ for the photographer
Thanks to social media, it’s hard to stand out when it comes to wedding photos — but a couple in Florida did exactly that by passionately embracing underwater while still dressed in wedding attire!
Greenwood’s snap was given an honorable mention in the Underwater Art category at the Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition.
“I love underwater portrait work, and this session was a dream come true!”
Taken by the photographer Kimber Greenwood at Kelly Springs in Apopka, Florida, with a Nikon D750 camera, the image features a bride and groom locking lips in a fantasy-like setting.
“The current was intense, so my assistant was holding me in place!” Greenwood said of the story behind the shot.
Judges combed through thousands of entries from 78 countries to award more than $85,000 in prizes in 16 categories for the eighth annual edition of the Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition.
The Underwater Photography Guide publisher and judge, Scott Gietler, said of the competition: “I continue to be amazed by the wonderful images that today’s underwater photographers are producing. The winning images produce powerful emotion, and will influence a new generation of ocean conservation.”
The photo judged to be the best overall, taken by Greg Lecoeur, depicts a crab-eater seal maneuvering quickly through freezing waters under thick ice in Antarctica.
The idyllic setting of Kerala, India boasts incredible views of nature that are best seen from Jatayu Earth’s Center. A joint venture between the country’s tourism department and Rajiv Anchal (a film director and sculptor), the nature park has been open since the end of 2017. It has since garnered a massive claim to fame; Jatayu Earth’s Center is home to the world’s largest bird sculpture.
The bird, also named Jatayu, has a staggering set of measurements. It is 200 feet long, 150 feet wide, and 70 feet tall. The sculpture features meticulous details you wouldn’t expect at such a large scale, including individually decorated and layered feathers.
Jatayu’s impressive wings splay onto the ground which allows visitors to walk on top of the figure and climb onto his talons and head. They’re meant to go inside of Jatayu as well. The bird’s body doubles as a roof for the Earth Center’s building—making this work of art a functional one. It comes as no surprise that this incredible structure took Anchal and his team 10 years to complete.
Besides being a wonderful feat of design and architecture, there’s also significant context to the massive sculpture. Jatayu is a symbolic figure in the Hindu epic Ramayana. Known as a “noble bird of divine origin,” the legend is that he tried to rescue Sita, the wife of the famed Lord Rama (an incarnation of Vishnu and Krishna). Sita was being abducted by the demon king Ravana, and Jatayu came to her defense.
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Never have I ever seen something quite as magnificent as Jadayupara – a mythical eagle that just so happens to be the largest bird sculpture in the world! 🦅 • Huge thanks to @keralatourism for an amazing 2 weeks exploring all four corners of Kerala and @withlai for the drone snap!
Rappers, actors, athletes, social media sensations: it seems like everyone was here!
You could hardly walk through the Dubai Mall or drive around Yas Island without spotting a famous face this week.
Conditions were absolutely perfect for celebrity spotting, with the F1 setting Yas Island alight, and with the December weather in the UAE so perfect for visitors.
Here are 10 celebrities, social media names, athletes and musicians that were spotted in Dubai and Abu Dhabi this week…
1- Amir Khan and reality stars Jordan Hames and Michael Griffiths
Walking in Dubai mall and saw these 2. I thought I knew them from uk and jabbed Jordan In the stomach. Then realised I know them from love island lol. My bad but good seeing the lads. #Jordan #Micheal #Loveisland #Dubai pic.twitter.com/j9Hm0X4Io8— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) December 2, 2019
The British boxer’s tweet really sums up the past week in the UAE. He was wandering through Dubai Mall, as celebrities often do, and then spotted two other British celebrities – Jordan Hames and Michael Griffiths from Love Island.
He also met Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and said “big things are happening in Abu Dhabi in 2020”.
2- Ronaldhino and Chris Gayle
Chegamos Dubai 🤙🏾🇦🇪 pic.twitter.com/N7UcYCEjaf— Ronaldinho Gaúcho (@10Ronaldinho) December 2, 2019
The former Brazilian footballer checked in to a beach-side hotel on the Palm Jumeirah. He also hung out with Jamaican cricketer Chris Gayle while here.
3- Ne Yo and Akon
EDM star Marshmello perplexed some camels in the Abu Dhabi desert with his choice of headgear this week.