(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)
Melania Trump stood in front of the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a symbol of devotion to his wife, Mumtaz, and watched her open-mouthed husband bellow to photographers.
Her high-necked, ivory jumpsuit matched the exterior of the famed marble mausoleum (CNN’s Kate Bennett identified the one piece as made by Trump’s stylist, Hervé Pierre). It came with a moss green sash made of “vintage Indian textile” that slightly clashed with her husband’s canary yellow tie.
Still, the First Lady—known for looking absolutely miserable when out with her husband—appeared happy, or at least flashed a few more step-and-repeat smiles than normal. One tabloid described the pair as “loved-up,” which is as big of a stretch as the notion that burger-loving Trump enjoyed his meatless Monday in India. Still, the Trumps were able to hold hands for a while, and they stood close while watching a flock of birds fly away, like two characters from a gothic poem.
Ivanka, too, arrived with Jared Kushner in tow, though she kicked her husband out of her own picture. In a poppy-patterned turquoise dress, which matched the reflection pool she stood in front of, Ivanka mugged with her vacant-eyed but determined smile.
If you have any doubts about any future political aspirations for this “presidential adviser,” then (take a deep breath and) look at her Taj Mahal photo op. Despite all those “Unwanted Ivanka” detractors, just like the building itself, she endures. In Ivanka’s words, such resilience is “awe inspiring.” Others might call her seemingly ceaseless, free vacations (thinly) disguised as diplomacy, a horror scenario.
The Taj Mahal was completed after ten years of construction in 1653, outlasting threats from the Japanese Air Force in World War II and Pakistan’s bomber pilots in the late ’60s. But the historic site, frequently referenced as a Wonder of the World, has succumbed to one thing: the rich and powerful using it as a backdrop to make coded statements to the world.
The tradition began in earnest with the 1992 image of Princess Diana on a marble bench, her body a lithe strip in a cherry red blazer, nearly dwarfed compared to the gargantuan building behind her. She went to the site alone, without her husband Prince Charles, implying a fissure in their not-so-storybook romance.
But Diana was not the first celebrity photo op at the Taj Mahal. In 1962, Jackie Kennedy took a solo trip to India and Pakistan, at a time when First Ladies did not often dabble in foreign diplomacy. For her pilgrimage to the spot, she wore a preppy blue and green sheath, projecting the Camelot-era’s sunny confidence.
Four years later, George Harrison snapped a selfie in front of the site, looking very anti-Kennedy in his counterculture duds: an unbuttoned cotton shirt and dark sunglasses.
Since then, plenty of other young and famous men have come to the mausoleum in search of themselves, or at least a performative version of it.
In 2015, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the Taj Mahal was an example of “what people can build—and what love can motivate us to build,” using the elegant language of a good copywriter to plug his company after paying respects. That same year, Leonardo DiCaprio visited too, while in the country working on a climate change documentary. It was a “secret trip;” DiCaprio asked tourists not to take pictures, because he was working.
In 1995, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton also sat on one of the Taj Mahal’s benches for photographers, sitting close and smiling, visual code for girl power. Five years after that, the first daughter would return with her father, Bill.
In wide-angle snapshots of Donald and Melania strolling in front of the Taj Mahal, the yuge building’s scope leaves the pair looking tiny, nearly as tall as the shrubs which line the monument’s grassy aisles. Trump, who’s got a thing for screaming about his own bigness, might not appreciate how tiny he looks.
But for a man who views the presidency as just another prize to show off that he’s won, the Taj Mahal visit was a success. The man whose legacy was once a knockoff-named casino now has got his photo in front of the real thing, joining the star-studded ranks of those who came before him. And as we’ve seen from this optics-obsessed administration so many times before, the facade is all that matters.
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak – ousted by the military in 2011 – has died in Cairo at the age of 91.
Mubarak spent three decades in office before a popular uprising swept Egypt.
He was found guilty of complicity in the killing of protesters during the revolution. That conviction was overturned and was freed in March 2017.
His death was confirmed by Egyptian state news on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, the Al-Watan website reported that he died at a military hospital.
Mubarak underwent surgery in late January and was photographed with his grandson as he recovered.
On Saturday, however, Mubarak’s son Alaa said that the former president remained in intensive care.
Born in 1928, Mubarak entered the air force as a teenager and went on to play a key role in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
He became president less than a decade later, following the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, and played a key role in the Israel-Palestinian peace process.
But despite the billions of dollars in military aid Egypt received during his time in office, unemployment, poverty and corruption continued to grow.
Discontent boiled over in January 2011, after similar protests in Tunisia led to the overthrow of the president there. Mubarak was forced to step down 18 days later.
Just over a year after Mubarak’s overthrow, Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist politician, won Egypt’s first democratic presidential election.
The new president lasted less than a year in office. Amid mass protests, he was ousted in a military coup led by Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Gen Sisi went on to win two presidential elections. Morsi died in prison in 2019.
In 2012, Mubarak was sentenced to life imprisonment over the deaths of some of the 900 protesters who were killed by security forces during the uprising a year earlier.
Both he and his two sons were also convicted of corruption.
But the more serious charges against Mubarak were later overturned and he was released in 2017.
(CNN)The Israeli military and Palestinian militants in Gaza exchanged fire on Sunday, hours after a graphic video showing an Israeli army bulldozer scraping the body of a dead man off the ground went viral.
Today Singapore is a thriving, bustling, modern, cosmopolitan city that is a meeting place for many people of different cultures and ethnicity. This provides a melting pot that exudes its own unique and vibrant character. It is a place where people live the multicultural experience to the full. Singapore is a major trading centre and plays an important part in the economies of the region and the rest of the world. Presented here is a version of the legend of the founding of Singapore pieced together from different sources but mostly from the Malay Annals which is an important cultural text from Malaysia and registered with UNESCO’s Memory of the World programme.Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
The Malay Annals are also known as The Sejarah Melayu and among other stories tell of the legend of how Singapore was founded by…
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What is Life if not a journey within itself
We all begin the same yet is the end for all
Parents nor our Race were we ever able to choose
Born to Trumpets or onto a field of sweat and mud
Yet it is the center that decides: the Death we’ll live
Simple answer to some of the really big questions
Were there Men and Women before Adam and Eve
Were the ‘God’s of the Underworld’ actually Demons
Will the World War we fear be the one called Armageddon
Just as sure as death, there is a ‘Life After’: Yes
Their is a little Lady
Walking across my desk
Strutting like She owned it
She has a walk, a belief in Herself
Just a hairy little Dust-mop Pet
She rolls over on her hairy back
Gives you Her furry belly to pet
Her purr, loudly giving off her mood
Whose paws are eating out of whose
Do they sometimes make you wonder
Who is the Master, and who is the Pet
The Housing Ministry has begun advancing a plan to build a massive Jewish neighborhood in an East Jerusalem area that appears to be earmarked in the Trump administration’s peace plan for a Palestinian tourism center.
On February 9, the ministry submitted a building plan that would see some 9,000 housing units constructed at the site of the Atarot Airport, which has been inoperative since the breakout of the Second Intifada in 2000.
While the Trump plan does not specify where exactly in Atarot the Palestinian tourism center would be located, the airport is the only open area in the East Jerusalem neighborhood where such a site could be built.
The new neighborhood in Atarot would break a long stretch of Palestinian urban areas extending from the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Beit Hanina and Shuafat north to Kfar Aqab, Qalandiya and Ramallah on the other side of the security barrier.
The project will still need to be authorized in several other planning stages that can take several years, but the submission of the building plan marks a significant step toward construction after several years of delays due to lack of funds.
The site designated for construction is mostly on state land but parts of the new neighborhood would sit on parcels currently privately owned by Palestinians, requiring the demolition of at least 15 families’ homes, the Haaretz daily reported.
In a statement blasting the Atarot building plan, the Peace Now settlement watchdog said the construction would prevent the establishment of a viable Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem.
“Netanyahu is dragging Israel into a reality of a bi-national apartheid state and is putting the Zionist enterprise in jeopardy,” the left-wing group added.
According to the Trump plan, Israel will maintain control over Atarot and all other East Jerusalem neighborhoods west of the security barrier. However, the Jewish state “should allow for the development by the State of Palestine of a special tourism zone in Atarot, in a specific area to be agreed upon by the parties.”
“We envision that this area should be a world class tourist zone that should support Muslim tourism to Jerusalem and its holy sites. We envision that this zone will become a thriving and vibrant tourism center that includes state-of-the-art public transportation that provides easy access to and from the holy sites,” the plan states.
The Palestinians have rejected the US peace plan, which envisions the creation of a Palestinian state in about 70 percent of the West Bank, a small handful of neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, most of Gaza and some areas of southern Israel — if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, disarm Hamas and other terror groups in the coastal enclave, and fulfill other conditions.
The plan also allows Israel to annex settlements, grants the Jewish state sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and overriding security control west of the Jordan River, and bars Palestinian refugees from settling in Israel.
Israel has welcomed the proposal.
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Finally, here we are at day 3! Took me long enough. MOUNT BROMO. My first mountain to scale, not that it’s a big deal since it’s a super easy one. No gear or equipment needed. I think we started the morning at about 2AM. And then we drove up to the starting point and oh […]
The flight from Jakarta to Tokyo would be my best opportunity to see how Garuda Indonesia stacked up to the 5-star rating it received from Skytrax. Only 11 airlines worldwide hold that rating. The 737-800 flight from Bangkok to Jakarta met my expectations for a short flight on a narrow body aircraft. Garuda’s business class lounge was a disappointment. How would business class on the red-eye flight to Tokyo measure up?
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Showcasing the best of short films and screenplays from the LGBT community. Screenplay Winner every single month performed by professional actors. Film Festival occurs 3 times a year!
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