Iconic singer and actress Cher is in Pakistan to celebrate the departure of Kaavan, dubbed the “world’s loneliest elephant,” who will soon leave a Pakistani zoo for better conditions after years of lobbying by animal rights groups and activists.
Because of security concerns, Cher’s schedule was not made public. However, she met Friday with Prime Minister Imran Khan and was expected to visit Kaavan later in the trip, according to the prime minister’s office. Khan’s office released a video of the singer sitting with the prime minister outside on the expansive grounds of Khan’s residence.
Kaavan, the elephant has languished in the zoo for 35 years, and lost his partner in 2012. He was diagnosed by veterinarians as both overweight and malnourished, and also suffers behavioral issues due to his isolation.
Kaavan is set to leave for a sanctuary in Cambodia on Sunday, said Martin Bauer of Four Paws International, a global animal welfare group that’s led the charge to save him since 2016.
Cher took up Kaavan’s cause and has been a loud voice advocating for his resettlement. Four Paws, which often carries out animal rescue missions, has provided the medical treatment needed before Kaavan can travel and will accompany him to the sanctuary.
Even after he’s in Cambodia, he’ll require years of physical and even psychological assistance, Bauer said.
Because of the abysmal living conditions blamed on systemic negligence, Pakistan’s high court in May ordered the closure of Marghazar Zoo in the capital of Islamabad, where Kaavan has lived for much of his life.
A medical examination in September showed Kaavan’s nails were cracked and overgrown — the result of years of living in an improper enclosure with flooring that damaged his feet.
The elephant has also developed stereotypical behavior, shaking his head back and forth for hours, which the medical team of wildlife veterinarians and experts blamed on his utter boredom.
For the past three months, a Four Paws team including veterinarian Dr. Amil Khalil and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board has been readying Kaavan to leave.
Khalil first met Kaavan in 2016, and returned to the zoo in August, where he was heartbroken at the animal’s condition. Khalil has spent the last three months trying to get him ready for his trip to Cambodia.
Kaavan was put on a diet of fruit and vegetables, and as a result has lost half a ton (450 kilograms), he said. Previously, Kaavan was eating 250 kilograms (550 pounds) of pure sugar cane every day, with an occasional fruit and vegetable.
The veterinarian said this was the first time in 30 years that he developed an strong emotional bond with a rescue animal. Now, the “world’s loneliest elephant” comes lumbering over when he hears Khalil’s voice.
“I was always moving, so never allowed myself to develop an emotional attachment,” but with Kaavan he couldn’t resist, Khalil said. He said he has pampered and protected him for the past three months, cajoling him into losing weight as well as being less fidgety and more relaxed so he can make the trip to Cambodia.
Khalil said there are many elephants at the sanctuary, but in particular three female elephants are awaiting Kaavan’s arrival.
Khalil joked that Kaavan might just find a girlfriend there — who knows?
Bauer lauded the powerful impact celebrity voices can have for animal rights.
“Celebrities lending their voices to good causes are always welcomed, as they help starting public discourse and raising pressure on responsible authorities,” he said.
“Around the globe there are animal lovers, famous and not famous, and the support of every single one of them is crucial,” he added.
Somali-American model Halima Aden has announced that she is taking a step back from the fashion industry, saying the pandemic slowdown has allowed her to see instances when her desire to maintain a hijab was not properly respected.
In a detailed Instagram story, Aden wrote this week that she was “not rushing back to the fashion industry” and that she had finally heard her mother’s pleas “to open my eyes.”
“My mom asked me to quit modeling a LONG time ago. I wish I wasn’t so defensive,’’ the 23-year-old model wrote. “Thanks to COVID and the breakaway from the industry I have finally realized where I went wrong on my hijab journey.’’
Aden became the first hijab-wearing model on the runways of Milan and New York, and has appeared on numerous magazine covers and in print campaigns.
Born in a refugee camp in Kenya, she moved to the United States with her family at age 7 and was the first Muslim homecoming queen at her high school in Minnesota, the first Somali student senator at her college and the first hijab-wearing woman in the Miss USA Minnesota pageant.
In her Instagram posts, Aden detailed where she felt the religious covering hijab had been respected -- for example in a campaign for Rihanna’s Fenty beauty line -- and where it had gone astray, showing an instance when her head had been wrapped in jeans.
“I was just so desperate back then for any ‘representation,’ that I lost touch with who I was,’’ she wrote on one post, and on another, wearing a crystal-encrusted headscarf, she said “”I should have walked off the set because clearly the stylist didn’t have a hijab wearing woman in mind.”
She said her acceptance of situations that showed a lack of respect for her beliefs was due to a mixture of rebellion and naivete. “What I blame the industry for is the lack of MUSLIM stylists,'' she wrote.
Marking the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman - Gallery Cosmos organized an exclusive Art Camp titled ‘Sheikh Hasina: On the Right Side of History’ on Friday in collaboration with Cosmos Atelier71 and supported by the Cosmos Foundation.
Twenty-two leading and promising painters of the country participated in the day-long camp from 12 pm till 5:30pm at Gallery Cosmos, Cosmos Centre (Studio, Books and Rooftop), Malibagh in the capital.
Renowned artists Alakesh Ghosh, Jamal Ahmed, Ahmed Shamshuddoha, Sheikh Afzal, Nasir Ali Mamun, Bishwajit Goswami, Raneshwar Shutradhar, Rasel Kanti, Monjur Rashid, Sourav Chowdhury, Maneek Bonik, Jayanta Sarkar, Azmol Hossain, Fida Hossain, Amit Nandi, Didarul Limon, Tamanna Afroz, Fahim Chowdhury, Miskatul Abir, Proshun Halder, Hasura Akter Rumky and Shurovi Sriti participated in the camp.
Virtually inaugurating the camp from Singapore, Gallery Cosmos Chairman Enayetullah Khan said, “Through our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, we see and explore the greatest Bengali ever - our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Being the torchbearer for Bangladesh and one of the greatest leaders in the world, Sheikh Hasina has gone through great loss and personal sacrifices - yet her profound leadership has guided us, inspired us from time to time; and this exclusive art camp is a tribute from our Gallery Cosmos towards our Prime Minister - who has truly been on the right side of history."
From Vancouver, Canada - Gallery Cosmos Director Tehmina Enayet virtually announced the opening of the camp, saying, "As part of the activities marking the Birth Centenary of our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman - Gallery Cosmos is organizing this special art camp with 22 prolific artists of Bangladesh. This exclusive art camp is a glorious opportunity through which we are shedding the spotlight on the historic and eventful life of our Prime Minister from the canvases of all these wonderfully talented artists, as tribute to the role model who herself is the epitome of development."
"During this unprecedented time of COVID-19, we are thankful to all our 22 participating artists who joined this exclusive camp on our Prime Minister, maintaining adequate health protocol and making this special initiative by Gallery Cosmos and Cosmos Atelier71 a successful one, which has been arranged marking the Birth Centenary of our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman," artist Sourav Chowdhury. Executive Artistic Manager of Gallery Cosmos told UNB.
Enayetullah Khan also announced that an exhibition will continue for the next two months at Gallery Cosmos, Cosmos Centre (Studio, Books and Rooftop), Malibagh in the capital with the artworks from the camp.
Visitors (maximum 20 at a time due to social gathering restrictions) are requested to wear mask all the times and keep appropriate social distance while visiting the exhibition.
Gallery Cosmos’ day-long art camp ‘Sheikh Hasina: On the Right Side of History’ commenced on Friday at Cosmos Centre (Studio, Books and Rooftop) in Malibagh.
It has been organised in collaboration with Cosmos Atelier71 and supported by the Cosmos Foundation.
Twenty-one leading and promising painters of the country are participating in the camp, which commenced just after 12pm.
Renowned artists Alakesh Ghosh, Jamal Ahmed, Ahmed Shamshuddoha, Sheikh Afzal, Nasir Ali Mamun, Bishwajit Goswami, Raneshwar Shutradhar, Rasel Kanti, Monjur Rashid, Sourav Chowdhury, Maneek Bonik, Jayanta Sarkar, Azmol Hossain, Fida Hossain, Amit Nandi, Didarul Limon, Tamanna Afroz, Fahim Chowdhury, Miskatul Abir, Proshun Halder, and Shurovi Sriti are participating in the camp.
Read Also: Gallery Cosmos hosting art camp on PM Hasina Friday
The holiday season is approaching and we’re all in need for a good vacation. This year hasn’t been the easiest and working from home can be a tall order for some. All things considered, Bangladesh has gotten away quite easy compared to other countries around the world. Nevertheless, a short staycation would do anyone some good to round off 2020, and these staycation spots in Bangladesh deserve a try.
Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden
Recognized as one of the best hotels in Dhaka, the Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden is the perfect place to consider if escaping the bustle of urban life is on the top of your needs. The resort houses 200 guest rooms that vary from private suites to family-friendly options. If this vacation is for the kids as well, Radisson offers tailor-fit services like rollaway beds, connecting rooms and even infant beds to make your visit as easy as possible.
Facilities in this place include three premium restaurants, health clubs, conference centers, full-service spa and of course, a large swimming pool. Radisson doesn’t break the mold nor relies on gimmicks; when it comes to premium services, the brand holds true to its reputation. If the hotel facilities start to bore you there are many landmarks around worth a visit. The Bangladesh Army Stadium and Army Golf Course are approximately 20 minutes away by foot, while Dhaka’s urban hotspots aren’t extremely far off either.
Many customers have put the spotlight specifically on the top notch quality of Radisson’s quality of service; certainly not a factor to be overlooked. In general, if you’re looking for a relaxing escape and want somewhere quiet and serene to recharge, this would be the perfect choice for your next staycation.
Grand Oriental Hotel
Staycations can be a little pricey and some may not want to splurge that kind of cash during this difficult year, but Grand Oriental could be one to consider if you’re adamant about getting the bang for your buck. With axed prices in the hotel industry all over the country, Grand Oriental remains more competitive than ever. Starting as low as USD 50 and capping at USD 90 after discount; all rooms are realistically priced and opens up many opportunities to customers, without feeling restricted.
A lavish feast is essential to complete a vacation of any kind and Grand Oriental does not disappoint. Their menu prides itself with barbecue, continental and Thai food; capable of serving at their first class restaurant or in the banquet hall (best if you want to throw a party). Their service is 24 hours and can serve meals and snacks whenever you start to get the munchies.
Additional services include airport pickups, sightseeing tours and a fitness center. Grand Oriental isn’t the largest hotel around, but the entire experience is a luxurious one that will give you and your loved one more than enough time to take a break in Dhaka.
The Peninsula Chittagong
Moving on to Chittagong, The Peninsula is at the GEC Circle and is a mere five minute walk from Central Plaza. By car, it’s a solid 45 minute drive to the airport and only 20 minutes away from the Chittagong Railway Station. But then again, if you’re a Chittagong resident, the locale may not affect you as much as the resort itself.
The rooms themselves welcome guests with its ceiling high windows and ample space to immerse any resident with a good view of the cityscape. The hotel isn’t shy for choices when it comes to food either; offering a delectable combination of Bangladeshi, Indian, Thai and Chinese dishes. The Isles Bar is also a cozy haven that has the perfect drink for you to unwind.
Other facilities include spas, the highest rooftop swimming pool in the city, and a fitness center. Limousine and event services are also available options.Peninsula shines in giving its guests luxury with a view.