World: From TV presenter to refugee overnight

ICJ to rule on Myanmar objections to Rohingya genocide case

  ICJ to rule on Myanmar objections to Rohingya genocide case If the objections are dismissed, the court can begin to discuss the evidence for the alleged atrocities.The court heard arguments on the objections in February, and ICJ President Judge Joan E Donoghue will read out its decision on Friday at 3pm (13:00 GMT).

When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last August, life for many women in the country changed overnight. For one TV presenter, it meant the end of her career, along with her hopes and dreams. Now, almost a year on, she is trying to a build a new life as a refugee in the UK.

Shabhnam Dawran was a TV presenter before the Taliban takeover © BBC Shabhnam Dawran was a TV presenter before the Taliban takeover

On 14 August 2021, the night before the Taliban took control of Kabul, Shabhnam Dawran was preparing to present the prime time news show on Tolo News and Radio Television Afghanistan.

In recent days, the Taliban had swept across Afghanistan and had now reached the outskirts of the capital.

Gas getting too expensive? These people are making their own in their backyard

  Gas getting too expensive? These people are making their own in their backyard Food waste is a global problem costing billions and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Turning that waste into cooking gas is increasingly being seen as a solution for homes and businesses.In Australia, that equals more than 7 million tonnes of edible food, and is estimated to cost the economy more than $36 billion annually, according to a report commissioned by the federal government.

The 24-year-old Shabhnam was a rising star. She went on air to break the news to viewers who were glued to their TV screens following every development of the story.

"I was so emotional that I couldn't even read the lead story. People watching me at home could tell what I was going through," she says.

When she woke the next morning, Kabul had fallen to the militant group.

A Taliban member, with the group's black and white flag behind him, was now sitting in the same seat in the studio where Shabhnam had sat the night before.

It marked the end of an era.

At their first official news conference, a Taliban spokesman told a room filled with journalists that women could work "shoulder to shoulder with men".

The next day, a nervous but excited Shabhnam put on her work clothes and made her way to the office.

Sunrise: Sam Mac's fury as Robert Irwin 'steals' weatherman job

  Sunrise: Sam Mac's fury as Robert Irwin 'steals' weatherman job He ranted on TikTok about Channel Seven billing Robert Irwin as the show's 'new weather presenter' even though he was just filling in for a few days . © Provided by Daily Mail Sunrise weatherman Sam Mac (pictured) learned the hard way this week that whenever a TV host takes time off work, they do so at their peril He was furious over the fact Robert - an 'animal guy' - was able to effortlessly read the weather during live crosses from Australia Zoo in Queensland.

But as soon as she arrived, she was confronted by Taliban soldiers, who she says were guarding the building and only allowing male workers to enter.

Shabhnam says a soldier told her that "in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, we haven't decided about women yet". Another soldier, she says, told her: "You've worked enough, now it's our time."

When she told them she had every right to work, Shabhnam says one of the soldiers pointed his rifle at her, placed his finger on the trigger and said: "One bullet will be enough for you - will you leave or should I shoot you here?"

She then left, but posted a video describing the encounter on social media. It went viral, putting her and her family's life in danger.

She packed a small bag and fled the country a few days later, taking her two younger siblings - Meena and Hemat - with her.

Shabhnam (left) with her younger brother and sister, Hemat and Meena, in their local park in north London © BBC Shabhnam (left) with her younger brother and sister, Hemat and Meena, in their local park in north London

A new life

Shabhnam and her siblings later arrived in the UK, along with thousands of other Afghan refugees. They faced a long wait to be settled.

Myanmar junta disappointed top court rejects challenge to genocide case

  Myanmar junta disappointed top court rejects challenge to genocide case Myanmar's military junta on Saturday expressed disappointment with the decision of the United Nations' highest court to greenlight a landmark case concerning accusations of genocide against minority Rohingya Muslims. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on Friday threw out all of Myanmar's objections to a case filed by the west African nation of The Gambia in 2019. The decision paves the way for full hearings at the court on allegations over a bloody 2017 crackdown on the Rohingya by majority-Buddhist Myanmar.

As a refugee with no English and limited job prospects, Shabhnam had a hard time adjusting to her new surroundings.

"I feel like I lost the six years I worked in Afghanistan. Now I have to learn English and go to university. On the first days we couldn't even go shopping. If we needed some essentials, we couldn't express what we wanted. It was extremely difficult and painful."

Almost a year on, the majority of recent Afghan refugees in the UK remain in hotels across the country. Shabhnam and her siblings, however, have been lucky - they were provided with a council house earlier this year.

"Our life starts now. We're like a new baby that has to start from the very beginning," she says with a smile as she instructs her sister Meena to put the kettle on to make "chai sabz", the traditional Afghan green tea that contains cardamom.

They are slowly getting used to life in London and have been enjoying their first English summer, though they still miss home.

"I'm a local now," Shabhnam says, giggling. She knows where to find the bakery with the warm bread that looks and smells like the ones they had back home, and where to get the best dried fruit and green tea.

Fatima Payman, Australia's first hijab-wearing senator, sobs as she tells powerful refugee story

  Fatima Payman, Australia's first hijab-wearing senator, sobs as she tells powerful refugee story Senator Fatima Payman told how her family fled to Australia when she was eight, and broke down in tears as she paid tribute to her father Abdul who died of cancer before he could see her elected.Proudly addressing the Senate in a hijab, the first Muslim woman to do so,  she thanked her late father who arrived in Australia as a refugee.

She and her sister are now studying English at a college and her brother attends secondary school.

Shabhnam and Meena are adjusting to life in London - and their new home © BBC Shabhnam and Meena are adjusting to life in London - and their new home

Shabhnam believes her family has been well supported by the UK government, but worries about other Afghan refugees, some of whom are her friends. She says their plight has been overshadowed by the war in Ukraine.

"Processing the cases of Afghans, and especially those stuck in hotels, has been massively delayed because of Ukrainian refugees. They [the British government] have put a limit on Afghans coming to the UK but not on Ukrainians. They shouldn't have behaved like that with Afghans."

The BBC put her concerns to the UK Home Office. It said: "It is wrong to set these two vulnerable groups against each other. Our Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme will provide up to 20,000 women, children and other at risk groups with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

"The housing of Afghan individuals and families can be a complex process. We are working with over 300 local authorities across the UK to meet the demand and have moved - or are in the process of moving - over 6,000 people into homes since June 2021."

A lot has changed in Afghanistan since Shabhnam left home. Girls have been banned from going to secondary school in most parts of the country, parks have been segregated and women have been ordered to cover their faces.

New MP calls for refugee policy reform

  New MP calls for refugee policy reform Newly-elected independent MP Kylea Tink has called on the Labor government to end the poor treatment of refugees and do more to uphold human rights.Kylea Tink, who won the North Sydney federal seat traditionally held by the Liberals, said her electorate wants greater equality for women, First Nations people and those who have sought refuge in Australia.

This rule has particularly affected female TV presenters who have been forced to wear face coverings on air.

The Taliban have ordered female presenters to cover their faces when appearing on TV © Reuters The Taliban have ordered female presenters to cover their faces when appearing on TV

Shabhnam sympathises with her colleagues who have no choice but to accept the harsh edicts if they wish to continue working.

"[The Taliban] want to force women to say 'we give up, we don't want to come to work anymore and we submit to staying at home'," she says. "Until they change their way of thinking, they'll not bring a positive change in society."

But she has not given up hope of one day returning to Afghanistan.

"Like a glass that falls on the floor and breaks into pieces, my hopes, plans and dreams were shattered," she says.

"I hope for a day when Afghanistan is a place where people are not just surviving - but thriving. I will not be in doubt of returning then."

Ranvir Singh sorry for saying Lionness Beth Mead 'looked knackered' .
Ranvir Singh apologised during today's Lorraine programme for telling Lionness Beth Mead that she 'looked knackered' during an interview yesterday, and said the footballer 'looked great'.The presenter, 44, was branded 'patronising' and 'rude' by viewers for her comment about the England footballer, who was part of the squad who won the UEFA Women's EURO 2022 championship on Sunday.

See also