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Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Saudi Arabia

Map, flag and data from Wikipedia.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2015 v9p0115

Saudi Arabia is the second largest Muslim country (Algeria is the largest). Its population of 27 million does very well if a citizen is one of the 7,000 princes who can do whatever they like, and less well if the citizen is a man, men can travel freely and divorce without reason but cannot say a syllable against the absolute monarch or sharia law; and horrible for women who are treated all their lives like children or useful beasts of burden.

The very look of a woman is offensive; in public they must be covered completely. So poisonous is a woman that if she is raped she must be executed, even if she is only 6 years old. Because the law insists it was her fault. Always.

Saudi Arabia gets away with massive human rights abuses because it is swimming in oil, and ridiculously wealthy, and a major buyer of weapons, which the United States falls over itself selling to totalitarian regimes.

The success of religionists in planting the idea that cold-blooded murder of little girls and bloggers is holy has been widely noted. Religionists in neighboring countries have convinced young unemployed men lacking skills that shooting cartoonists and Jews and Syrians and Nigerians is good. And Saudi Arabia responds by building walls around its country, to keep out the fighters they so happily groomed.
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News sources from Saudi Arabia all spew out stories about men and the greatness of the cruel despots who think nothing of lopping off body parts including heads. This news feed is about fashion, and I like it.

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Yemeni-Emirati singer Balqees Fathi stars in luxurious international campaign
Wed, 2020-05-27 09:46

DUBAI: Luxury watchmaker and jeweler Piaget revealed its new campaign this week, starring ten exceptional women pioneers in varying fields, ranging from cinema and art to music and design. Among the women chosen to star in the campaign is Yemeni-Emirati singer Balqees Fathi.

Fathi features in the Extraordinary Women campaign – which was shot in Los Angeles – alongside award-winning actresses Jessica Chastain and Cynthia Erivo, South Korean star Kong Hyo-Jin, US entrepreneurs Shiva Safai and Olivia Palermo, American actress Constance Wu, Chinese artist Chen Man and founders of Red Carpet Advocacy Arianne Phillips and Carineh Martin.




The campaign features ten women who excel in their respective fields. (Supplied)

“No stranger to the limelight meet shining star of the stage @balqeesfathi. A ground-breaking singer who uses her platform to raise women up, sharing her extraordinary with people around the world,” wrote Piaget on its official Instagram page alongside a clip of the singer.

A UN Champion for Women’s Rights in the Middle East, Fathi continuously uses her platform to shed light on important humanitarian causes. As part of her philanthropic work, the 31-year-old  visited Yemeni refugee camps in Djibouti and launched the #DontCoverItUp campaign, which aims to raise awareness on domestic abuse.

She is also the first Arabic singer to appear on Saudi national television, 40 years after singers Fairouz, Sabah and Umm Kulthum.

It’s all these reasons and more that make her an exceptional woman and a perfect fit for Piaget’s new campaign. 

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Wed, 27 May 2020 06:48:05 +0000


UAE brand’s fresh approach to skincare looking good for future
Author: 
Mon, 2020-05-25 15:58

DUBAI: Skincare products can quite often sit on shelfs or in delivery vehicles for weeks and months, stored in unsuitable conditions.

And despite brands promoting them as organic and natural, some customers might question the effectiveness of products left lying around for long periods after being produced.

However, Kathryn Jones, founder of the UAE-based brand Kathryn Jones Hand Blended Serums, or KJ Serums for short, told Arab News how her company created fresh products every month for customers.




Jones, who is originally from Wales, in the UK, launched KJ Serums in 2017 and started her brand “out of necessity.” (Supplied)

“The concept of a freshly-made skincare serum is something quite different and our customers have really embraced it. They appreciate it’s a fresh product that must be used up within a month when it’s at its most active and effective and repurchased – almost like a food stuff,” she said.

Jones, who is originally from Wales, in the UK, launched KJ Serums in 2017 and started her brand “out of necessity.”

She added: “I simply could not afford the prices of some of the top skincare brands but still wanted excellent results.”

With her background in the biopharmaceuticals industry, she started experimenting and developing her own formulas. “The core proposition is ‘hand blended’ because that’s how it all started, by hand blending and perfecting the serum formulas myself here in the UAE,” she said.

Having lived in Dubai for more than seven years, the entrepreneur learned a lot about the Middle Eastern market and the needs of people who live within the region.

“Our climate here is extreme often for eight months or more of the year, especially in the Gulf region. A lot our customers will ask for a product that reduces oiliness and sheen on the skin and are reluctant to purchase products that contain a lot of oils, or are very heavily moisturizing,” Jones added.

The businesswoman believes the Middle East market is “wonderfully diverse” with different attitudes and expectations toward skincare products.

“Of course, this is a challenge to develop effective products which can address many different skin types and issues, but the market is truly receptive to new concepts,” she said.

Jones pointed out that with the current lockdown situation due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), people had more time to care for their skin.

“The coronavirus pandemic has obviously confined us to our homes, and, given the steady increase in the number of enquiries we are receiving, it suggests consumers currently have more time to consider their online skincare purchases and perhaps have more time to invest in an effective routine,” she said.

On whether the COVID-19 outbreak would change the future of the skincare industry, Jones added: “I think that many consumers, either through necessity or out of a desire to support local brands might have chosen to source their products from different manufacturers and therefore brand loyalties may have been affected to a certain extent.”



Mon, 25 May 2020 13:23:49 +0000


Bella Hadid shares heartfelt message for Eid
Mon, 2020-05-25 13:13

DUBAI: Part-Palestinian model Bella Hadid took a trip down memory lane on Instagram on Sunday to reflect on her Eid memories with her family.

The star extended warm wishes to her followers and said that this holiday season was always special to her as a child.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid) on

“I remember the beauty of Ramadan, and fasting with my father and my Teta when I was young. Eid was so special for me, to be able to celebrate together,” she wrote to her 30.8 million followers.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Eid Mubarak my friends and family عيد مبارك As Ramadan comes to a close, my thoughts are with families and children around the world without a safe place to call home. I remember the beauty of Ramadan, and fasting with my father and my Teta when I was young. Eid was so special for me, to be able to celebrate together. It makes my heart break thinking about the children and families that are separated and unable to unite during this time. I wish there was a way that I could take the pain away or more that I could do...But for this week, I will be supporting and donating to three charities that are working endlessly, in different ways, to help support Refugees, displaced families, families in the front lines of conflict and very importantly, the powerful and beautiful Middle Eastern children across Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and other affected regions. @preemptivelove @unrwausa and @mecaforpeace I would like to explain to you exactly what these amazing organizations do...The Middle East Children's Alliance works for the rights and well being of children in the middle east. They support dozens of community projects for Palestinian children and refugees from Syria. MACA has been dedicated to making sure the children get direct aid like food, water, clothes, toys, books and school supplies... Financial Support and assistance in the West Bank and Gaza that helps children get basic needs such as accessible parks, kindergarten classes, libraries, sports, MUSIC/ art programs etc! They also offer university programs to help Palestinians grow up to be everything they can be. I will be supporting this organization for a very long time I want these children to know that they are so special and that there are people here that care about them.. ( if you would kindly slide to the right to see how Preemtive Love Coalition & UNRWA USA have dedicated their time as well) my Preemtive Love Coalition donation link will be in my Bio Thank you for reading I would love for you to join me to help these incredible charities, and if not, spreading the word will always help.. We can and will be the voice for the ones who cannot be heard ‎عيد مبارك

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid) on

Captioning a series of pictures of refugees and displaced families in the Middle East, the 23-year-old model said: “As Ramadan comes to a close, my thoughts are with families and children around the world without a safe place to call home.

“It makes my heart break thinking about the children and families that are separated and unable to unite during this time. I wish there was a way that I could take the pain away or more that I could do.”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

My rider! @gigihadid 25...big girl!!!

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid) on

The supermodel has always been vocal in her support of less-fortunate families in the region. This week, she announced that she would be donating to three charities to help support “refugees, displaced families, families in the front lines of conflict and very importantly, the powerful and beautiful Middle Eastern children across Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and other affected regions.”

Her heartfelt message went on to explain what each of these three organizations — Preemptive Love, UNRWA USA, and Middle East Children’s Alliance — do to help the needy.

“I want these children to know that they are so special and that there are people here that care about them,” Hadid wrote.



Mon, 25 May 2020 10:00:53 +0000


Home help: Regional brands seek popularity boost
Mon, 2020-05-25 10:49

DUBAI: Traditional dressing may have been contemporized but it has never been forgotten in the Middle East. One of the region’s most celebrated designers, Rami Al-Ali (whose client list includes British screen star Helen Mirren, Oscar-winning costume designer Hannah Beachler and Egyptian actress and singer Yousra) says that there is a growing “back-to-the-roots” movement that started a few years ago. 




Rami Al-Ali is one of the region’s most celebrated designers. (Supplied)

“A lot of the younger generation — representing our new clientele — are much more patriotic and seeking to keep their identity intact. They are very much pushing for local products, cause they speak their language. They have a global way of thinking, but they want to keep the aesthetic traditional,” he explains.

Well-known fashion influencer and entrepreneur Karen Wazen agrees. It was one of the reasons that she launched Karen Wazen Eyewear in 2018. As an influencer she has always enjoyed mixing regional labels with international brands. 

“Noor Hammour, Madiyah Al-Sharqi and shoemaker Andre Wazen are a few of my favorites; they have a distinct style language. My brand was born out of a passion of sunglasses and towards my community,” says Wazen, whose sunglasses are available through luxury fashion retail platform Farfetch.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

VICKY’s now available online

A post shared by Karen Wazen Eyewear (@bykarenwazen) on

Not all regional fashion brands are so lucky with distribution. Even now, when you walk into regional branches of international department stores such as Bloomingdales, regional representation is lacking. 

“Regional brands understand the aesthetics, culture, and heritage of the region, so their products are a perfect fit, but it was quite a challenge to convince buyers to take a risk and invest,” says Al-Ali. 

Often, it is independent concept stores that give local designers a home.  Urbanist is a store in Dubai’s Box Park, launched five years ago by Sandra Hakim. Originally, the merchandise was roughly split 80/20 between international and local designers, she says. But today, it is closer to 50/50. “Demand for local talent has continued to increase every year,” notes Hakim. 

It is a similar story at L’Edit, another popular concept store in Dubai, founder Rumana Nazim tells Arab News. 

“We started off with brands mainly from London, New York and Australia but very quickly started stocking local brands,” she says. “There’s a great support system in this region, where women from here are proud to wear homegrown labels, so we are definitely seeing more local brands being pushed out and spoken about.” 

During Ramadan, there is greater demand than ever for local labels. Comfortable, modest dressing with a sense of glamor is what many women in the Middle East are looking for in the holy month, so kaftans are, naturally, extremely popular.




This design is by Rami Al-Ali. (Supplied)

Dubai-based influencer and luxury consultant Rosemin Madhavji notes, “During Ramadan I’m always in modest maxi dresses or kaftans. Local designers are at an accessible price point, and — most of the time — produced locally, which allows you to customize length and sleeves et cetera.”

Of course, Ramadan this year coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant economic troubles, making it even more important to support regional brands. Faiza Bouguessa, founder of ready-to-wear label Bouguessa, says, “Today, more than ever, we need to support our favorite local businesses to help them survive this difficult time. We need to keep in mind that they are the most fragile and that behind each one of these businesses there are people — and often families — that rely on their salaries. If money is an issue, just posting a picture of your favorite piece you bought from that brand can help.”

Fans of Bouguessa’s label include Beyoncé and Priyanka Chopra, but she says it is her regional clientele who are the backbone of her business. “Middle-Eastern people consume local brands a lot and are very supportive of homegrown talent,” she tells Arab News.

But there is still plenty of potential for growth, stresses Bahrain-based Saudi designer Deema Ajlani.

“The region is fiercely loyal and proud to wear local when it comes to specific items of clothing like kaftans and abayas, but this does not necessarily translate into the realm of ready-to-wear,” she says.

 

Aljani hopes that, as countries around the world look to boost their local economies, all aspects of regionally designed fashion will become increasingly popular.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Ife dress is a perfect look for Eid. Shop it online now. . www.deemaajlani.com . #eid #readytowear #deemaajlani

A post shared by Deema Ajlani (@deema.ajlani) on

“Regional fashion has always had something to offer, and it has definitely stepped up its game in the past decade. I personally am an advocate of buying local and love nothing more than to nurture local products and businesses,” she says. “We should all be supporting local — also from a sustainability angle — now more than ever.” 

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Mon, 25 May 2020 08:10:45 +0000


Gucci announces major changes to its show schedule
Author: 
Sun, 2020-05-24 15:44

DUBAI: This week, Italian house Gucci released several entries from creative designer Alessandro Michele’s personal diaries over the last few months, which hint at a shift in the way the creative director will approach future fashion weeks.

In one of the six letters – written between March 29 to May 16 – the designer writes:  “I will abandon the worn-out ritual of seasonalities and shows to regain a new cadence, closer to my expressive call. We will meet just twice a year, to share the chapters of a new story. Irregular, joyful and absolutely free chapters, which will be written blending rules and genres, feeding on new spaces, linguistic codes and communication platforms.”



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5/6 • “I believe that we can build our tomorrow also starting from a renewed capacity of denomination. Here comes the desire to baptize our new encounters by naming them after a language that has marvelously ancient roots: classical music language. Accordingly, there will be symphonies, rhapsodies, madrigals, nocturnes, overtures, concerts and minuets in the constellation of my creative path. Music, after all, has the sacred power to produce reverberations and connections. It travels beyond the borders, reconnecting the fragility to the infinity.” A new path in fashion that leaves behind the paraphernalia of leitmotifs that colonized our prior world, according to @alessandro_michele in ‘The Sacred Power of Producing Reverberations’, his diary entry for May 3, 2020. #AlessandroMichele Read his diary through link in bio.

A post shared by Gucci (@gucci) on

The posts also reveal the designer’s plans to increase the sustainability of the fashion house. 

“Our reckless actions have burned the house we live in,” Michele writes in an entry entitled “We Turned Out To Be So Small” written on March 29. “We conceived of ourselves as separated from nature, we felt cunning and almighty. We usurped nature, we dominated and wounded it. We incited Prometheus, and buried Pan. So much haughtiness made us lose our sisterhood with the butterflies, the flowers, the trees and the roots. So much outrageous greed made us lose the harmony and the care, the connection and the belonging. We ravaged the sanctity of life, neglectful of our being a species. At the end of the day, we were out of breath.”

Notably, Gucci was one of the first luxury houses to pledge going fur-free in its collections. 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced designers to reconsider calendars and show formats, including Parisian maison Saint Laurent, which announced in April it would no longer be adhering to the Fashion Week schedule. 

Regional brands such as Saudi labels Arwa Al-Banawi and Ashi Studio will also release collections at their own pace and when they are ready. 

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Sun, 24 May 2020 12:49:28 +0000