Johannesburg, Sept 20 (AP/UNB) — Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, along with their infant son, Archie, are making their first official tour as a family, starting Monday in a troubled South Africa whose president says women and children are "under siege" by shocking violence.
South Africa is still shaken by the rape and murder of a university student, carried out in a post office, that sparked protests by thousands of women tired of abuse and impunity in a country where more than 100 rapes are reported every day. This is "one of the most unsafe places in the world to be a woman," President Cyril Ramaphosa said Wednesday.
Empowering women is one of the issues Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, will address on a 10-day, multi-country visit, along with wildlife protection, entrepreneurship, mental health and mine clearance — a topic given global attention by Harry's late mother, Princess Diana, when she walked through an active mine field during an Africa visit years ago.
Some in South Africa say they are happy to see the arrival of Meghan, who has been vocal about women's rights and is likely to speak out again. One of her first events is a visit to a workshop that gives self-defense classes to young girls.
"I think the Duchess of Sussex' visit is perfectly timed. She's coming to South Africa at an incredibly turbulent time," said Lara Rosmarin, who leads a local tech incubator that will be part of the royal visit. "People are anxious, people are scared, people are worried ... She's coming at a time when she can instill some hope and some promise and perhaps highlight the struggles of women in South Africa."
The high-profile visit by the royal family is expected to contrast with the breathtaking series of stories in local media in recent weeks about the reported abuse of women and children — "even babies," the president reminded Parliament this week.
The scope is now well known. More than 2,700 women were murdered last year, and more than 1,000 children, the government says. One in five women over age 18 have faced physical violence from a partner.
"The conviction rate for rape is a shameful 5%," the leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, said Wednesday. The state should oppose bail for suspects, deny parole to those found guilty and ensure that a life sentence means life in prison, South Africa's president now says.
Some women want more, saying South Africa should bring back the death penalty for rapists. Capital punishment was abolished in the country in 1995.
Despite the recent unrest, the royal family likely will focus on the positive. Planned events in their first public stop, Cape Town, include a visit to a non-governmental group that trains surfers to provide young people with mental health services.
"She is a very influential person and just for her to be here and to some way influence the girls on our program ... is a big part of why we're excited to have her here," said Courtney Barnes, a surfing coach with Waves For Change.
Harry and Meghan also will visit the oldest mosque in South Africa and meet with Nobel Peace Prize winner and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A "rare privilege and honor," Tutu and his wife, Leah, said Thursday.
The prince later will break away for visits to Botswana, Angola and Malawi with a special focus on wildlife protection.
In Angola, Harry will walk in the footsteps of his mother, whose steps across a mine field in 1997 helped to inspire an international ban on anti-personnel mines later that year. That field in Huambo is now a busy street, and Angola's government, now years past a grinding civil war, hopes to be free of land mines by 2025.
The southern African nation is now turning toward ecotourism.
Meghan will remain in South Africa with events including a Johannesburg visit to a charity that helps to raise awareness of sexual violence in schools.
The royal family's Africa visit ends on Oct. 2.
New York, Sept 4 (AP/UNB) — The eco-minded Prince Harry is embarking on a massive travel sustainability initiative in partnership with key travel providers. They aim to improve the practices of the global industry amid an ever-increasing number of travelers.
The Duke of Sussex picked Amsterdam, a city hit hard by over-tourism, to announce Travalyst at a news conference Tuesday with his partners, Booking.com; TripAdvisor; Visa; China's largest travel company, Ctrip; and the Ctrip-owned fare aggregator Skyscanner.
The long-term initiative is focused on tackling the travel industry's impact on climate change, improving wildlife conservation, and protecting the environment in top tourist spots around the world. It aims to increase the amount of tourism dollars that go to local communities, and find answers to over-tourism.
"Travel has the unparalleled power to open people's minds to different cultures, new experiences, and to have a profound appreciation for what our world has to offer," the duke said in a statement shared with The Associated Press ahead of the formal announcement.
"As tourism inevitably grows, it is critically important to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices worldwide, and to balance this growth with the needs of the environment and the local population. Bringing companies, consumers and communities together is our best chance to protect destinations and ecosystems for future generations," he added.
Harry drew criticism this summer when he and his family took a private jet to go on vacation, despite the flight's carbon impact on the planet. They had flown to the home of singer Elton John, who said the aircraft offered them needed privacy and protection, and was carbon-neutral because it was offset by a contribution to Carbon Footprint.
"I spend 99% of my life traveling the world by commercial" aircraft, Harry said Tuesday. He said he would take a private jet only when circumstances called for it, and would offset the carbon footprint.
Among issues the coalition will focus on is improving on-the-ground travel and tourism entrepreneurship in local communities.
Last year, the number of international trips taken globally reached 1.4 billion, a number reached two years faster than originally projected by the United Nations' tourism agency, the World Tourism Organization. According to the World Bank, the number of trips taken annually by people around the globe has more than doubled since 2000.
Travel and tourism fed $8.8 trillion into the global economy in 2018, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. In 10 years, the number of tourists visiting countries in emerging markets will reach 1 billion annually, comprising 57 percent of all international trips, the U.N. agency said.
Gathering service providers into one coalition is a feat unto itself in a competitive industry with piles of profit on the table. Other areas explored will include cleaner aviation fuel, more travel experiences focused on sustainability, and educating tourists on the footprints they make and the waste they leave behind.
"The commitment from these different brands to work together and help build a global network of like-minded social entrepreneurs, NGOs and policymakers is truly inspiring," said Gillian Tans, chairwoman of Booking.com. "Collaboration is the only path forward if we want to create a real paradigm shift in travel."
Bryan Dove, chief executive for Skyscanner, said the travel industry has an obligation "to preserve our world for future generations to explore and enjoy — but to do this we need to act now, as change won't happen overnight."
Harry began approaching potential partners for the coalition about two years ago. Specific programs and projects will likely be launched within the next 18 months. Harry will be actively at the helm.
Consumers are hungry for change, with 71 percent of global travelers telling Booking.com they think travel companies should offer more sustainable travel choices, and 68 percent saying it was important that their travel dollars support local communities.
At Skyscanner over the last 12 months, 10 million travelers selected the lowest carbon emission flight option, for instance.
Travalyst will be the first initiative to fall under the Sussex Royal charitable foundation of Harry and Meghan after they spun off from the joint trust established by his brother, Prince William, and duchess Kate.
London, Jul 23 (AP/UNB) — Kensington Palace has released three new photographs of Prince George for the young royal's 6th birthday.
The heir to the British throne turned 6 on Monday. It's become a palace tradition for snapshots taken by Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, to be shared with the public for the birthdays of her and Prince William's three children.
In two of George's latest photos, he is seen wearing a big smile and an English soccer jersey. The third shows him on a family holiday.
George, the oldest of Kate and William's children, is a great-grandson of Queen Elizabeth II. He is third in line for the throne behind his grandfather, Prince Charles, and his father.
Dhaka, Jul 11 (UNB) - Pop singer Mila Islam on Thursday filed a case against three people, including her former husband Parvez Sanjari, accusing them of physical assault and demanding dowry.
She filed the case at Bangladesh Cyber Tribunal under the Digital Security Act in the afternoon. The other accused are Parvez’s brother SMR Rahman and cousin Khan Al-Amin.
Judge Md Assams Jaglul Hossain directed the Cyber unit of Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime of Police to investigate and submit a report on September 16.
Earlier on October 5, 2017, Mila filed a case against Parvez under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act for domestic violence. Parvez was subsequently arrested but got out on bail two days later.
On May 20, Mila’s husband also filed a case against her under the Digital Security Act accusing her of defaming him and spreading falsehood against him on social media.
Mila and Parvez tied the knot on May 12, 2017.
London, July 6 (AP/UNB) — The youngest member of Britain's royal family, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, was christened at Windsor Castle on Saturday in a private ceremony — too private for some royal fans.
The 2-month-old son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was baptized in the castle's private chapel by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the Church of England.
Palace officials said that, in keeping with royal tradition, Archie wore a lace and satin christening gown — a replica of one made for Queen Victoria's eldest daughter in 1841 — that was also used for his cousins Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
He was sprinkled with water from the River Jordan at an ornate silver baptismal font that has been used in royal christenings for more than 150 years.
Archie, born May 6, is the first child of Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle, and seventh in line to the British throne.
His parents released two photos taken by fashion photographer Chris Allerton, including a black-and-white image showing the couple cradling a tranquil Archie between them, with the castle's Rose Garden in the background.
It was accompanied by a color portrait taken in the castle's Green Drawing Room of the young family surrounded by relatives, including Harry's brother Prince William and his wife Kate; Harry's father Prince Charles and his wife Camilla; Meghan's mother Doria Ragland; and Jane Fellowes and Sarah McCorquodale, the sisters of Harry's late mother Princess Diana.
Archie's great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, did not attend the christening because of a prior engagement.
Meghan and Harry have faced criticism for declining to reveal the names of Archie's godparents, and not giving the public a glimpse of the event — though that didn't stop well-wishers coming to Windsor with Union Jack flags, banners and even a cake to mark the occasion.
Harry, whose mother Diana was pursued by paparazzi until her death in a Paris car crash in 1997, has long had a tense relationship with the media. The tension intensified after he began his relationship with Meghan, an American former actress who starred in TV legal drama "Suits."
In May, Harry accepted damages and an apology from a news agency that used a helicopter to take photos of a secluded rural retreat that he and Meghan had rented.
Earlier this year the couple moved from central London to a more secluded home near Windsor Castle, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of London.
The royal couple's decision not to allow media access to the christening sparked controversy in part because of the recent revelation that their Frogmore Cottage home was renovated with 2.4 million pounds ($3.06 million) of taxpayers' money.
Royal fan Anne Daley, who brought a home-baked cake to Windsor, said she was "very hurt" by the level of privacy.
"That baby is Princess Diana's grandson. We should be able to see the christening," she said.