Jill Biden, Duchess of Cambridge, learns to care for rabbits while on tour


HAYLE, England: U.S. First Lady Jill Biden and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, learned about rabbit grooming on Friday while attending preschool during a trip together in south-west England.
They also attended a talk on early childhood education with experts from the UK and some from the US who joined the discussion through Zoom.
« It is a great honor to have you in Great Britain, » said the Duchess shortly before the discussion. She thanked Biden – a longtime English teacher – for her interest in early childhood education, which is also of interest to the Duchess, who has three young children with husband Prince William.

Biden, 70, and former Kate Middleton, 39, attended 4- and 5-year-olds attending Connor Downs Academy in Hayle. The school works with traumatized children. There are also outdoor classrooms where children plant vegetables and flowers and take care of rabbits.
Biden was carrying a bowl of carrots when the women went outside to see Storm, one of several rabbits housed in stables, and handed the bowl to a group of children to feed him.
Speaking to the indoor round table, Biden said she was happy to attend school.
« I met some wonderful teachers and principals, and especially the children who were so inspiring and well-brought up, » said the first lady. « I couldn’t get over it. »
She is traveling with her husband, President Joe Biden, who is attending a Group of Seven Summit in Carbis Bay on Friday, made up of leaders of the world’s largest economies.
She thanked the media for reporting on the performance « because early childhood education is so important to lay the foundation for all of our students ».

Both women took notes during the discussion, which focused on children’s mental health and the importance of early education in child development.
On her departure, reporters asked Biden if she had asked the Duchess for advice on meeting Queen Elizabeth II, which the Bidens will do later on Friday at a summit reception followed by tea with the monarch on Sunday at Windsor Castle.
« No, I haven’t, » replied the first lady. “We were busy. Weren’t you in this room We talked about education.  »
Jill Biden is slated to return to Washington after meeting the Queen, while the President travels to Brussels for a NATO summit and a highly anticipated one-on-one summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Switzerland.

GENEVA: The highest court in Switzerland on Friday rejected an appeal by environmental activists convicted of trespassing after breaking into a bank to play tennis disguised as Roger Federer.
The federal court rejected the activists’ argument that their playful demonstration two and a half years ago was an emergency measure justified by the climate crisis.
« At the time of their action there was no current and immediate danger, » says the Swiss definition.
In November 2018, the 12 activists entered a branch of Credit Suisse in Lausanne to denounce the Swiss tennis star Federer for his sponsorship deals with the second largest Swiss bank and their financing of fossil fuels.
In January last year, a lower court acquitted the 12 defendants, accepted their legal argument “state of emergency” and found that they had acted lawfully in the face of the climate emergency.
But an appeals court overturned this ruling last September and followed the prosecution’s view, which urged the judges to « practice law, not emotions, » as the Swiss news agency Keystone-ATS reported.
It found her guilty of « trespassing » – a judgment that was upheld by the federal court on Friday.
The activists immediately announced that they would take their case to the European Court of Human Rights to defend their « fundamental rights » including the right to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstrations.
Laila Batou, a defense attorney for one of the activists, criticized the court’s decision and « lack of ambition », according to Keystone-ATS.
« The Federal Court of Justice could have sent a clear signal that global warming is an imminent threat, but also that civil disobedience is necessary in some situations, » she told the news agency.
Instead, the court ruled « in favor of the powerful, the large corporations that can continue as usual at the expense of young people ».

PETRA, Jordan: Herds of hard-working donkeys once carried hordes of tourists on the rocky trails of Jordan’s Petra, but visitor numbers plummeted amid the pandemic and the loyal animals are unemployed.
« Before the coronavirus, we all had work, » said Abdulrahman Ali, a 15-year-old donkey owner in the old, rock-cut desert town, where the sure-footed animals carry tourists up steep paths in the blazing sun.
« The Bedouins of Petra made a living and fed their animals, » he said, waiting for food from a charity, explaining that many owners today are having trouble covering the cost of feeding.
In 2019, the number of visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage exceeded the million mark for the first time.
But in March 2020 the famous tourist destination was closed and the crucial income for tourists dried up.
« When tourism stopped, nobody could buy food or medicine, » said Ali, who could earn up to $ 280 on a good day and support his mother and two brothers.
« If you have a little money, you can now spend it on your own food, not on your animal. »
Before the pandemic, tourism accounted for more than a tenth of Jordan’s GDP, but revenue plummeted from $ 5.8 billion in 2019 to $ 1 billion last year, according to government figures.
Tourist numbers have been slowly recovering since Petra reopened in May.
Only about 200 visitors a day come to Petra, compared to more than 3,000 before the pandemic broke out, said Suleiman Farajat, head of Petra’s regional development and tourism agency.
Farajat said about 200 guides used up to 800 animals – including horses, camels, and mules, and donkeys – for tourist drives across the desert.
The economic effects of tourism were widespread.
« Before the crisis, 80 percent of the region’s residents were directly or indirectly dependent on tourism, » said Farajat.
« Not only livestock owners were affected by the pandemic, but also hotels, restaurants, those with souvenir shops or shops and hundreds of employees have lost their jobs. »
Many donkey owners turn to a clinic supported by the animal rights organization PETA, where veterinarians treat abused and malnourished donkeys free of charge.
« Before the coronavirus, my family and I owned seven donkeys that were working in Petra, » said Mohammad Al-Badoul, 23, as he waited with four other donkey owners to fill a sack with animal feed.
“We had to sell them for lack of money. Now we only have one and I can hardly feed it.  »
Egyptian veterinarian Hassan Shatta, an equine surgery specialist who runs the PETA clinic, said he started a donkey feeding program late last year.
« During the Covid-19 lockdown and the lack of tourism, people could no longer afford to feed their animals, » Shatta said.
« Some of them starved to death and we picked them up and brought them here, » he added, noting that around 250 animals were treated with around 10-15 cases a day.
PETA has historically treated animals with deep cuts by beating or mistreating them, but Farajat of Petra’s Tourism Bureau says the donkey’s working conditions are « not so bad » now.
But there are plans to replace some of the traditional donkeys with a new system of 20 electric cars that the tourism association will be rolling out next month.
The cars are « driven by the animal owners, » Farajat said.
Farajat hopes that the switch to electric cars will put an end to criticism of the abuse of animals.

JAKARTA: More than a dozen Indonesian McDonald’s outlets were temporarily closed on Wednesday due to virus fears when the chain’s new BTS food deal sparked frenzied fan purchases in the K-pop mad country.
Jakarta and several other cities slapped sealing stickers on at least 13 outlets that were inundated with online grocery suppliers picking up a meal set named after the hugely popular Korean boy band.
« We have temporarily closed four of six McDonald’s branches here in Semarang for a few days, » said Fajar Purwoto, head of the city’s public order authority.

« I don’t want Semarang to be in the Covid-19 red zone again. »
Indonesia is one of the hardest hit countries in Asia.
The Jakarta authorities did not respond to requests for comment. However, local media said five stores in the capital have closed due to BTS meals.
The meal set with chicken nuggets, fries and a drink, which was first available in Indonesia on Wednesday, has been on sale in dozens of countries since May.
BTS have grown to become global superstars with millions of fans around the world since their debut in 2013.

Voting is in progress to find Russia’s finest prison guards in the all-new Miss Penal System competition
The 12 finalists, all hoping to be crowned Lock-up Lady of the Year, were selected from 100 candidates who each won their local competitions, Russia Today reported.

The Russian Prison Service is not the first government agency to use a beauty pageant to promote their work.

In 2019, the police officer Anna Khramtsova won a similar competition when the National Guard organized the competition “The Beauty of Rosgvardia”.

Although things didn’t go according to plan for Khramtsova – and after briefly flirting with social media fame, she was eventually fired after apparently breaching security by posting a photo taken at a facility.

The Miss Penal System contest is the Federal Penitentiary Service’s latest initiative – others included installing red British-style telephone boxes to decorate the occupants they called outside.

Voting ends June 11th when the world finds out which of the 12 finalists who drop their bans and make inmates a little happier about their cell retention will be crowned the winner.

RIYADH: Cinemas across Saudi Arabia are preparing to release The Journey, the first Saudi 4DX animated film, on June 17th.
The manga epic “The Journey”, which was co-produced with Japan, has received a clearance and classification certificate from the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM).
The film was produced by Manga Productions from Saudi Arabia, a subsidiary of the Misk Foundation, and Toei Animatio from Japan.
The film will be the first release to benefit from new ticket sales rules designed to help Saudi filmmakers.
In April the board of the commission decided that local films no longer have to pay part of the ticket sales to the commission in order to support Saudi producers, artists and content makers.
Directed by the renowned Shizuno Kobun, « The Journey » was filmed with animations in an anime style and lasted two and a half years.
The movie’s makers said the Saudi and Japanese crew took the time to create a mix of each country’s culture.
The film is set around 1,500 years ago and presents the ancient civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East. It follows the story of Aws and the people of Mecca who are forced to take up arms to free themselves and their city from the enslavement of a ruthless general.


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