Yummy Yummy: Top 7 Business Lessons from the Wiggles

At Macquarie University in the early '90s, three Australian early childhood education majors, Murray Cook, Greg Page, and Anthony Field, decided they had an urge to dress up in brightly colored red, yellow, and blue (respectively) costumes that look like the uniforms on the original "Star Trek" series. It wasn't long before they convinced Anthony Field's bandmate in The Cockroaches, Jeff Fatt, to don a purple shirt and start entertaining at birthday parties while they danced and sang about fruit salad and wallabies.

If you're a parent of a small child, you probably know this Aussie quartet as The Wiggles, who are the Beatles, Monkees, or 'N Sync of the kid set. They are the highest paid entertainers in Australia, ahead of Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman.

You know right off when you watch their DVDs and videos (which you will, at least 200 times each) and their TV show four times a day on Playhouse Disney that these guys are definitely not an American creation. Mister Rogers, Mister Dressup and Bozo the Clown are gone, and no modern adult American males would dress in funny costumes and entertain kids with songs about "Fruit salad, yummy yummy!"

Their loss. The Wiggles, who earn $14 million per year, are the latest kids' sensation, and what they can teach us about success and finding your life's passion will inspire corporate America to play the guitar and dance with the Wiggles' friends, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus, Dorothy the Friendly Dinosaur, and Captain Feathersword the Friendly Pirate, who acts with cheerful swashbuckling bravado that would make Johnny Depp want to slit his own pirate throat.

1. Do what's good for your audience without lecturing.

The Wiggles don't resort to After School Special messages. You want to know about the value of a healthy diet? Have some fruit salad! Exercise? Let's get up and "Romp Bomp a Stomp," or dance and play, with Dorothy! Let's do the pirate dance with Captain Feathersword and run after the Wiggles in their big red car. The songs do what songs, dance and theater were designed to do originally: pass on knowledge. They do this in a fun, clever, colorful, eye-catching way. The three Wiggles (Murray, Jeff and Greg) that have ECE degrees, and children of their own, know kids can understand what's beneficial for them without being spoon-fed. And Jeff...well, sleepy Jeff shows everyone the value of a good nap.

2. Find a way to include everybody and you'll reap the rewards.

Jeff, who doesn't hold an ECE degree, was shy about getting involved with kids, according to a Knight-Ridder article, "If you have small kids, get ready to Wiggle" by Rod Harmon. Greg, Anthony and Murray devised Jeff's constant sleeping and the running gag of asking the kids who participate in the videos and TV show to shout "Wake up, Jeff!" This has become so popular that there is actually a Wiggles video, "Wake Up, Jeff!" From the first Wiggles video to the current videos, you can see Jeff become more and more involved with the children, singing, dancing and playing, although he is quieter than the other three. Kids are always attracted to someone who's slightly different, and Jeff stands out even when dancing with a big green dinosaur reciting poetry and a purple dancing octopus. The other three Wiggles seem to encourage his uniqueness. From all the videos, CDs, and Jeff dolls they're selling, the approach works! When Wiggles doubles tour America, Jeff will be mobbed by kids too young to go nuts over Justin Timberlake.

3) Keep it live and stay in contact.

The Wiggles could get away with doing DVDs, TV shows and albums for their adoring fans the rest of their lives. But all of them are used to interacting. Murray, Greg and Anthony expected to be teachers. Jeff and Anthony played to crowds as members of the Cockroaches. They include real-life children, including members of their own families (as you see in the credits of their videos and DVDs), in their videos and talk to them. In one scene of "Hoop Dee Doo! It's a Wiggly Party," several children make emu skirts while one of the Wiggles talks to them. Undoubtedly, the Wiggles' live shows are no different, including the versions in Asia that will feature local native speakers as Wiggles clones ("The Wide World of Wiggles," Feb. 6, Newsweek Web exclusive). Even Dorothy has her own dance party on tour. Whether you send a giant green dinosaur with a floppy white hat or show up yourself, don't underestimate the value of making contact and getting involved. It's fun to run and jump around with kids, too (no wonder Anthony, who's always eating, stays thin!)

4) Don't follow the crowd or the market.

Most American non-Disney non-Nick Jr non-PBS kids' shows seem designed as 22-minute commercials for action figures or dolls, as well as ways to keep kids passively entertained. The traditional wisdom has been: Kids will be bored if there's no slam-bang action and there will be no way to make money out of doing something that's good for them. The Wiggles have proved this false. Kids dance and sing along with Jeff, Murray, Greg, Anthony, and friends, rather than sitting eating the sugary food du jour and mindlessly watching some freaky green monster get zapped only to reappear in the next episode. With an epidemic of diabetes mellitus and obesity in American kids, the Wiggles' approach is not only positive, but continues to breed success for the multicolored four.

The Wiggles themselves doubted there would be an audience for helping children learn through music and dance. A booking agent told them there would be no money in it, but they stuck to their guns, and became wildly popular in Australia. The United States was next and the Wiggles now are a solid hit on Playhouse Disney, with sold-out tours---they have even had to add second and third shows in many cities.

5) Getting international or multicultural isn't that hard.

The Wiggles don't need a multicultural sensitivity training class. After all, when your friends are a singing dog, a rose-eating dinosaur and an octopus with an underwater band, you don't have a problem with diversity. They regularly include Australian, Irish, Spanish, and other songs in their act. The franchise is expanding to Asia. If you think that this TV show doesn't sound like a likely hit in Japan, you've never seen "Pokemon" or anime, or the old classic "Ultraman."

6) Stay true to your roots.

There's no doubt that Murray, Jeff, Greg and Anthony are Australian (again, four American guys would not do what they do), although Dorothy sounds a bit more British. Songs such as "Willaby Wallaby Woo" speak to their down-under heritage, and you don't see them suddenly moving into a mansion in Malibu, pretending they're wealthy Hollywood Yanks with no family or kids.

7) Your family life only enhances your work and your passion.

Three of the Wiggles are married, Jeff apparently being too sleepy to settle down, although before Anthony married he was voted Australia's most eligible bachelor. These mates have built their career around children, and as noted in point 3, regularly include their own families in their videos. The family that eats fruit salad and romp-bomp-a-stomps together, stays together. If you give joy to millions of kids, it can't help having a lasting positive effect on your family.

Does all this inspire you to Wiggle, to get up and dance? You probably will if you have kids. But let it inspire you to follow your passion in your work, your family, and your life. Learn from those four career consultants, Greg, Murray, Jeff, and Anthony. And hey, eat some fruit salad. You need your health, mate.

Let's Wiggle!

Visit the Wiggles online at http://www.thewiggles.com.

Movie reviewer/screenwriter Kristin Johnson composes personalized poems, speeches, toasts, vows, and family memories. Visit www.poemsforyou.com">http://www.poemsforyou.com to order your personalized memories. She is also co-author of the Midwest Book Review "enthusiastically recommended" pick Christmas Cookies Are For Giving: Stories, Recipes and Tips for Making Heartwarming Gifts (ISBN: 0-9723473-9-9). A downloadablemedia kit is available at our Web site, www.christmascookiesareforgiving.com">http://www.christmascookiesareforgiving.com, or e-mail the publisher (info@tyrpublishing.com) to receive a printed media kit and sample copy of the book. More articles available at www.bakingchristmascookies.com">http://www.bakingchristmascookies.com

Spanish prime minister says Catalan government’s powers will be returned to Madrid, as tensions rise between supporters and opponents of independence

Spain was plunged into political crisis on Saturday after the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, announced that he was stripping Catalonia of its autonomy and imposing direct rule from Madrid in an attempt to crush the regional leadership’s move to secede.

The decision, which prompted anger across Catalonia, has escalated Spain’s deepest constitutional crisis since the restoration of democracy in 1977. Observers say the move could resurrect the spectre of Basque nationalism, and have repercussions across a Europe facing the rise of separatist movements.

Continue reading...

Islamic State’s last stronghold, Raqqa, has fallen. But the world’s attention must now focus on what it or other Islamist groups will plot next

For a group with such spectacular ambitions, Islamic State’s last stand took place in surroundings of almost shocking banality: a hospital and sports stadium in Raqqa, the Syrian town that was the political capital of its self-styled caliphate. After weeks of street-to-street battles and bombing, these final strongholds fell to Kurdish fighters last week. More than three years after Isis surged to global infamy with a stunning campaign of conquest, the end came with a whimper, not a bang.

“Once purported as fierce, now pathetic and a lost cause,” Brett McGurk, the US special presidential envoy for coalition forces tweeted. Such triumphant claims have become familiar since the 9/11 attacks. I heard them in Afghanistan in 2002, but US troops are still engaged in the fight against the Taliban. I heard them in Iraq in 2003, 2004, and then year after year until the US pulled out in 2011.

Continue reading...

An independence referendum supposed to strengthen the Kurds’ position ended in a retreat in which Iranian influence was key

When the guns fell silent on the Kirkuk-Erbil road, just after noon on Friday, a fresh border had been scythed through the oil-rich soil – and a new line of influence carved across northern Iraq.

Their gun barrels still hot, vanquished peshmerga forces began another withdrawal a few miles closer to the seat of government in the now shrunken boundaries of Iraqi Kurdistan. A few miles south, closer to Kirkuk, Iraqi forces were digging in, their conquest of the entire province complete, and their five-day sweep through the rest of the north having seized up to 14,000 sq km from the Kurds, with a minimum of bother.

Continue reading...

The firefight is said to be one of the deadliest for Egyptian security forces in recent years

At least 54 police, including 20 officers and 34 conscripts, were killed when a raid on a militant hideout south-west of Cairo was ambushed, according to officials. The ensuing firefight was one of the deadliest for Egyptian security forces in recent years.

Two police officials told the Associated Press on Saturday that the exchange of fire began late Friday in the al-Wahat al-Bahriya area in Giza province, about 135km (84 miles) south-west of Cairo. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief media.

Continue reading...

Andrej Babis stands accused of buying up Czech media to stifle criticism

The Czech Republic stood on the brink of a populist new era on Saturday , after voters heavily backed a billionaire businessman who has drawn comparisons with Donald Trump, while overwhelmingly rejecting establishment parties.

Amid public disdain towards “politics as usual”, the ANO (Action for Dissatisfied Citizens party) led by Andrej Babis, the country’s second-richest man, won 30% of the vote, according to projections, with nearly 95% of all ballots counted. That leaves ANO – which means yes in Czech – as the biggest party in parliament and in prime position to form a coalition government.

Continue reading...

Uncertainly over North Korea and its growing nuclear arsenal heightens underlying conservatism

Voting is underway in Japan’s general election and polls indicate prime minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition will win handily, possibly even retaining its two-thirds majority in the more powerful lower house of parliament.

Japanese voters may not love Abe, but they appear to want to stick with what they know, rather than hand the reins to an opposition with little or no track record. Uncertainly over North Korea and its growing missile and nuclear arsenal may be heightening that underlying conservatism.

Continue reading...

Vladimir Putin said to have agreed to move against Bill Browder, who has battled Moscow over ‘Magnitsky Act’

Russia has placed a prominent British businessman on the Interpol wanted list. President Vladimir Putin is understood to have sanctioned the move against Bill Browder, who has led an international campaign against Russia over the killing of the jailed Moscow lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky.

Continue reading...

Decision will be re-evaluated after appointment of Zimbabwean despot provokes global anger

The head of the World Health Organization has said he is rethinking his decision to name Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, as a goodwill ambassador after the move provoked global outrage.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the UN health agency, had this week asked Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old authoritarian leader to serve in the role to help tackle non-communicable diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and asthma across Africa.

Continue reading...

In Thennamadevi young daughters are forging a new destiny beyond their alcoholic fathers and human traffickers

Each afternoon the men of Thennamadevi leave their village and head for the surrounding fields, many carrying bottles of high-strength home-brewed alcohol. Hours later they stagger back home through the paddy fields of the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India.

Thennamadevi is racked by alcoholism. Most of its 150 male inhabitants participate in ruinous daily drinking sessions. Around 90 women with families in the village have been widowed. The youngest husband to die was 21.

Continue reading...

Donald Trump does not plan to block the scheduled release of thousands of never publicly seen government documents related to the assassination of President John F Kennedy.

Related: JFK at 100: Trump comparisons fuel nostalgia for 'Camelot'

Continue reading...

Government says death of investigative journalist, whose work had targeted Maltese PM, is ‘case of extraordinary importance’

Malta’s government has offered an “unprecedented” €1m (£890m) reward and full protection for anyone with information on who killed an investigative reporter with a car bomb.

A government statement, issued on Saturday, called the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, whose reporting on corruption targeted the Maltese prime minister and other senior political figures, a “case of extraordinary importance”.

Continue reading...

President hails step toward lasting peace and political transition but advisers say militants remain a threat and Assad government newly strengthened

Donald Trump on Saturday issued a statement on the Islamic State’s expulsion from Raqqa that ran counter to warnings in recent days from his national security aides that the militants remain fully capable of striking American interests.

Events in Raqqa were a milestone in the fight against terrorism and a step toward a political transition and lasting peace in Syria, Trump said in a White House statement.

Continue reading...

A growing number of actors and others in the film industry have made accusations against the Hollywood film producer

Léa Seydoux: the night Harvey Weinstein jumped on me
Could Harvey Weinstein be jailed?

More than 50 women have made allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the number continues to grow each day. Among the Hollywood mogul’s accusers are household names who were still looking to establish themselves when the alleged offences took place. Below are some of the allegations made public so far.

Related: What Harvey Weinstein tells us about the liberal world | Thomas Frank

Continue reading...

Projections show party led by Andrej Babiš to benefit from voters’ desire for change over tax, immigration and EU relations

The billionaire businessman Andrej Babiš is in line for a big win in parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic, projections have shown.

With voting taking place over Friday and Saturday, Babiš’s ANO party, which has vowed to cut taxes, increase investments and curb immigration, is expected to win 29.7% of the vote, more than twice that of any other party.

Continue reading...

Montana Republican official Karen Marshall told radio program she would have shot reporter Ben Jacobs if ‘that kid had done to me what he did to Greg’

A Montana Republican party official “would have shot” Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs if he had approached her as he did Greg Gianforte, who assaulted Jacobs one day before he was elected to Congress.

Jacobs approached Gianforte in May, in a room where he was about to give a television interview. The Republican slammed Jacobs to the floor, breaking his glasses, and then punched him several times.

Continue reading...

  • Wife of ex-health secretary Tom Price seeks to ‘curtail the spread’
  • Republican doctor asks committee meeting: ‘What are we legally able to do?’

A Georgia state lawmaker who is married to former Trump health secretary Tom Price asked during a legislative committee meeting about the possibility of quarantining people with HIV.

Related: Steve Bannon blasts George Bush and calls for Republican 'revolt'

Continue reading...

Crown of braids was digitally removed from cover of magazine in which singer discusses cultural legacy of braiding

The London Evening Standard has apologised to Solange Knowles for airbrushing her crown of braids from an image on the cover of its magazine.

The singer, whose songs include Don’t Touch My Hair, was featured in the magazine discussing her upcoming album, as well as the “art form” and cultural legacy for black women of braiding their hair.

Continue reading...

Jean-Marc Janaillac says he is happy to see British airlines fly on the continent – as long as they accept European Court of Justice control

As the head of Europe’s largest intercontinental airline, Jean-Marc Janaillac can speak with authority on the complexities of cross-border travel. He carries some political insight, too, because he is chief executive of a business, Air France-KLM, that is 17%-owned by the French government.

At the intersection of pan-European travel and politics lies Brexit, of which Janaillac is a dispassionate observer. After all, it is not his business that will be most affected by a split between London and Brussels. Janaillac says Britain leaving the EU is neither “an opportunity nor a catastrophe” for a business created by the merger of the French and Dutch national airlines in 2004.

Continue reading...

  • Former White House adviser slams former president at California event
  • Bush ‘embarrassed himself’ in speech decrying ‘bullying and prejudice’

The former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has launched a scathing attack on George W Bush, portraying him as a buffoon whose presidency was as “destructive” as any in American history.

Related: Khizr Khan: the patriotic American Muslim who called out Donald Trump

Continue reading...

German police work to determine whether suspect is man who fled scene of attack on black bicycle

A man with a knife fled after attacking four people in Munich on Saturday, police have said.

A suspect was arrested a few hours after the incident and authorities were working to determine whether he was the culprit.

Continue reading...

Haçan-da Stanislav Volkov Alternatiw Türkmenistan Habarlar gullugyna habarçy bolup hyzmat etmäge başlanda, howpsuzlyk gullugy onuň internetini kesdi we onuň üstüne kislota dökdi – ählisi hem ýaramaz abraýa eýe bolan paýtagtdaky gündelik agyr ýaşaýyşy baradaky hakykaty beýan etmäge gaýraty çatany üçin

Meň çaga wagtym, Aşgabat “baglyk şäher” hökmünde tanalýardy Ol gök öwüsýärdi, kanallarda dagdan gelen suwlar akýardy, agaçlar bolsa iýul we awgust aýynda hem kölege salyp salkynlyk berýärdi. Goňşular agşamlaryna çaý başynda üýşerdiler.

Türkmenistan Sowet Soýuzyndan 1991-nji ýylda Garaşsyzlygyny gazanyndan soň Aşgabat ikinji gezek dörän ýaly boldy. Häzirki günümizde Aşgabat şäherine degişme hökmünde “ölüleriň şäheri” hem diýilýär, sebäbi ak mermerli täze gurlan ýerlerde adam görüp bolmaýar diýlen derejede. Şäher Gines rekordlar kitabynda dünýäň ýüzünde iň köp ak mermer bolan şäher hökmünde hasaba alnan. Aslynda onuň hasaba alnan ençeme ugurlary bar: dünýäň ýüzünde iň uly ýapyk karusel, iň uly fontan, iň uly ýyldyz şekli. Täze aeroportda ýolagçylaryň esasy terminalyny bezeýän dünýäň ýüzünde iň uly haly şekli bar. Ýakyn wagta çenli, paýtagtda dünýäň iň uly baýdak sütüni derejesini hem saklapdy. Ähli bu täze jäjekler, jaýlar, parklar we köçeler, hamala adamlar üçin gurlupdy. Olar munyň bahasyny dymmaklyk bilen ödeýär.


Men Aşgabat şäherinde 1987-nji ýylda doguldym we 1994-nji ýylda okuwa başladym Men birinji klasa gidenimde her gün geýmeli bolan tarketka bilen prezident Saparmyrat Nyýazowyň suraty bolan sagadyň berleni ýadyma düşýär. Şol ýaşda, men şahsyýet kultunyň nämedigine düşünmeýärdim, ene-atam hem maňa ony düşündirmekçi bolup baranokdylar.

Continue reading...

Guardian Cities readers on the rise of the shopping mall, rivalry between oil-rich Kazakhstan and its rural neighbours – and even a defence of dictatorship

We received many responses to our callout for readers’ contributions to our special report on the Stans – thanks to all who sent us words or images. While we read and appreciated each submission, we chose to prioritise the voices of those who are from Central Asia, or have lived there.

Guardian Cities is exploring in depth the oft-ignored – and exceedingly difficult to report from – cities of the five Central Asian “Stans”: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, a quarter of a century after they became independent from the former Soviet Union.

Continue reading...

Биноҳои даврони шуравии сохташудаи пойтахти Тоҷикистон мунтазам хароб гашта, ҷойи онҳоро хонаҳои истиқоматӣ ва мағозаҳои нав иваз мекунанд. Ин ба аксари сокинон қобили қабул аст

“Дар вақташ бинои мағозаи мазкур яке аз зеботарин биноҳои шаҳр ба ҳисоб мерафт” мегӯяд Неъматуллоҳ Мирсаидов ва тавре ки ӯ шоҳид аст, ҷойи мағозаи кӯҳнаро манораҳои нав гирифтааст. Баъди даҳ соли аз шимолиХӯҷанд ба шаҳри Душанбе баргаштан, ӯ аз тағйиротҳои ба вуҷуд омада дар ҳайрат монд, аммо тағйиротҳо аз ҷониби ӯ мусбӣ арзёбӣ шуданд. Ӯ қайд намуд, ки “Сохти меъмории шаҳри Душанбе хеле тағийр ёфтааст”. “Шаҳрвандони он бояд аз ин фахр намоянд”.

Вақте ки деҳаи Душанбе соли 1924 пойтахт эълон гардид, он деҳае буд бо танҳо якчанд ҳазор нафар аҳолӣ, ки ҳаҷман хеле бо суръат афзуд ва ҳоло ҳам афзуда истодааст. Дар асосои барномаи нави стратегӣ оиди нақшаи рушди шаҳр, ки аз тарафи Ҳукумати Тоҷикистон қабул гардид, се маротиба зиёд кардани ҳудуди шаҳр дар назар дошта шудааст ва то соли 2030 аҳолии ҳозираи он аз 800 000 ҳазор нафарба 1.2 ҳазор нафар хоҳад расид.

Шаҳр васеъ ва бузург шуда истодааст. Биноҳои даврони Шуравӣ бо биноҳои истиқоматии нав ва биноҳои осмонбӯс иваз мегарданд. Боғҳои истироҳатӣ аз нав барқарор мешаванд, роҳҳо васеъ карда шуда, мағозаҳои ҳозиразамон ҷойи бозорҳои суннатиро иваз мекунанд.

Ба назари наслҳои оянда чунин мерасад ки, таърих аз ҳамин рӯзҳо оғоз шуда, дар гузашта мо ҳеҷ чиз надоштем

Continue reading...

ЛГБТ пропаганда Кыргызстандын борбору коп убактан бери Орто Азияда эркиндиктин байрагы болуп келген. Коомчулук, кол салуулар жана зордуктардан улам, коркуунун астында жашайт

Анара мурун сүйүүгө кабылган эмес. Ал жөн гана сезимдерге алдырбаганга аракет кылып, жакынкы мезгилден көрүп баштаган кыздын үйүнүн сыртында турду, эмоцияга берилип, этият болууну унутуп койду.

Жынысы бир болгон адам менен жолугушуу Кыргызстандын борбор шаары, Бишкектекооптуу болушу мүмкүн. Алардын, эми өөрчүп келе жаткан мамилелери мурунтан эле ушак-айрымдардын темасы болгон.

Continue reading...

Berdymukhamedov’s presentation of a puppy to Vladimir Putin is ironic, given the bloodbath of stray dogs and cats over which he has presided in Ashgabat

The Turkmenistan president’s present to his Russian counterpart last week suggested a twist on the oft-quoted saying: if you want a friend in politics, give them a dog.

At a much-documented meeting in Sochi, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov gave Vladimir Putin a Central Asian shepherd puppy for the Russian president’s 65th birthday (and perhaps to see if Putin might not feel like resurrecting Turkmen natural gas exports).

Continue reading...

The Kyrgyz capital was long a liberal beacon in Central Asia – until a ban on ‘LGBT propaganda’. With attacks and rapes on the rise, the community is scared

Anara had never been in love before. Pacing nervously outside the house of the girl she’d just started seeing, overwhelmed by emotions, she forgot the need for caution.

Dating a member of the same sex can be dangerous in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city, Bishkek. Their budding relationship was already the subject of whisper and rumour.

Continue reading...

The Tajik capital’s Soviet-era buildings are being systematically razed and replaced by multistorey apartments and malls. Most residents seem pleased

“Once this shop was one of the most beautiful buildings in the city,” says Nematullo Mirsaidov as he gazes up at an old department store now dwarfed by new towers. He has been struck by how much Dushanbe has changed since he started visiting from the northern city of Khujand more than a decade ago, but sees change as a positive. “Dushanbe’s architecture has changed significantly,” he adds. “Its residents should be proud.”

Dushanbe was a village of only a few thousand people when it was made capital in 1924 but it has grown rapidly since then and continues to do so at speed. The city’s territory is expected to triple in size and its population to grow from around 800,000 to more than 1.2 million by 2030 according to the new strategic urban development plan recently adopted by the Tajik authorities.

Continue reading...

In 1997 the Kazakh president launched a plan to protect his new capital from the icy winds of the featureless steppes with a ring of trees. Twenty years on, his scientists are still struggling to grow forests in a spot where no trees stood

“Do you know why women in Astana don’t get expensive haircuts?” asked television presenter Dinara Tursunova. “Because no sooner do you leave the beauty salon, the wind blows away your hairdo, and with it all the money you spent.”

Looking good in the capital city of Kazakhstan is hard work. When Tursunova moved to Astana three years ago for a job with a local broadcaster, what first struck her was the cold and the wind. “In winter I go around the city in skiing outfits and fur-lined sneakers. It probably wouldn’t hurt to put spikes on my shoes. When the wind starts whipping up, you will see people on the ice literally flying away,” she says.

Continue reading...

В городах пяти бывших Советских республик, “Станы”, доминировали личности их авторитарных правителей, но старинная столица Казахстана - Алматы - пытается развиваться, базируясь на нуждах своих горожан, хотя делает это упорядоченно

Из окна своего офиса на 20ом этаже одной башни в Алматы, Руслан Ассаубаев делится видением города нового типа. Новые пешеходные улицы, сеть велосипедных дорожек и автобусных полос, современный общественный транспорт - это часть пятилетнего плана, разработанного в сотрудничестве с западными консультантами и реализуемого Алматинским центром развития, правительственной организацией, заместителем главы которой является Ассаубаев.

Внизу яркие логотипы украшают белые стены центра “Открытый Алматы”, новый филиал мэрии, куда местные жители могут приехать для решения вопросов или подачи жалоб государственным служащим.
Попытка развивать город на основании нужд его жителей - это нечто новое для Средней Азии, где городское планирование обычно происходит сверху вниз. Но даже общественное участие носит упорядоченный, а не естественный, характер. “Мы поощряем участие горожан в развитии города в соответствии с указом президента,” - сказал Ассаубаев.

Казахстанский город Алматы - финансовый центр Средней Азии, регион, состоящий из пяти «Станов» - бывших советских республик, которые получили независимость в 1991 году. Регион находится вне поля зрения большинства жителей Запада, которые не участвуют в нефтяной отрасли, и в последние годы либо игнорируется, либо высмеивается.

Continue reading...

Toshklent-Sitida hashamatli mehmonxonalar, xonadonlar va ofislar joylashadigan kumushrang osmono’par binolarni qurishdan maqsad O’zbekiston poytaxtini ‘bizners uchun ochiq’ deb e’lon qilishdir. Biroq taraqqiyot shaharning tarixiy mahallalarida yashovchi aholi uchun qimmatga tushadi

Abdujalil Azimov stulda o’tirib olib, radiopriyomknigidan o’zbek estrada qo’shig’ini tinglamoqda, uning qo’ylari esa kunbotar payti O’zbekiston poytaxti Toshkent shahri markazidagi maysazorda bemalol o’tlab yuribdi.

Old tarafda muhtasham yangi xonadonlardan iborat ko’zni qamashtiruvchi oq marmar uylar qad rostlagan. Azimovning ort tarafida Olmazor mahallasi, uning betartib qurib tashlangan paxsa uylari ko’zga tashlanadi. Bu uylar bir vaqtlar Buyuq ipak yo’li manzillaridan biri bo’lgan Markaziy Osiyo shahrining ko’hna tarixini gavdalantirardi.

Continue reading...

Photographer Bülent Kılıç entered the former Islamic State stronghold with the Syrian Democratic Forces and documented the elation of the victory over the jihadists and the price paid by the ancient city

Continue reading...

Victim’s mother paid tribute saying he had aspired to become an architect and that his death has left ‘a hole, a void, a pain’

Two teenagers have been charged with murder after a 15-year-old boy, described by his family as artistic and talented, was stabbed to death in Manchester.

Kyron Webb was severely injured in the attack on Tuesday night. He died in hospital on Friday. Two boys, aged 16 and 17, have been charged with murder, Greater Manchester police said on Saturday.

Continue reading...

Rare gathering – the five were last together in 2013 – to take place at concert raising money to support Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands

All five living former US presidents – Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, George HW Bush and George W Bush – will on Saturday night attend a concert in College Station, Texas, an event staged to raise money for relief efforts from hurricane devastation in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

The actions of the three Democrats and two Republicans stand in contrast to the words of Donald Trump. He has vowed to help Texas and Florida for as long as the recovery takes but has criticized Puerto Rican leaders while suggesting aid there will not be unlimited.

Continue reading...

Energy minister says he believes Labor and Coalition can agree on reliability obligations but differ on emissions targets

The energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, has stopped short of guaranteeing prices will come down under the Turnbull government’s new energy policy, but says he’s “absolutely confident” power prices will fall.

Frydenberg also indicated the major parties might be able to come to terms on the mechanism, which imposes reliability and emissions reduction obligations on electricity retailers.

Continue reading...

Eight men, including three minors, charged following investigation into far right activists allegedly plotting to target politicians and mosques

France has charged eight men, including three minors, following an investigation into far right activists allegedly plotting to target politicians and mosques, prosecutors announced on Saturday in Paris.

The men, aged between 17 and 29, are accused of being party to a “criminal terrorist conspiracy”, and of links to Logan Alexandre Nisin, a militant who was arrested near Marseille in June.

Continue reading...

Photojournalist Minzayar Oo tells how a shot of Aung Sang Suu Kyi changed his life and led to him winning a unique award

The first of April 2012 was a historic, emotional and profoundly hopeful day in Myanmar’s history. Aung San Suu Kyi, for decades an exile from the country and then a political prisoner under house arrest for 15 years, finally won a byelection vote for a seat in parliament. The following morning many citizens and the world’s media gathered in Yangon at the offices of her party, the National League for Democracy, to hear from or catch a glimpse of the new leader of the opposition.

Many renowned photojournalists were in attendance. Among the throng was a 23-year-old medical student called Minzayar Oo. A hobbyist with a camera – after six years of university, Minzayar Oo was just about to qualify as a doctor – but the news agency Reuters had said it would look at any pictures he took. In the event, he struggled to get close to Aung San Suu Kyi, jostled to the fringes by more experienced practitioners. He took a few snaps, some above his head, using a slow exposure.

Continue reading...

The events of 1917 still divide Russians – Lenin may dominate the landscape but he has a rival in Nicholas II thanks to a resurgent Orthodox church

Vladimir Lenin gazes impassively into the middle-distance from his pedestal outside the courthouse in Leninsk-Kuznetsky, a Siberian mining town that bears his name. Lenin, who called for “bloodsucking” rich men to be hanged, seems an incongruous figure to stand guard outside a court of law in capitalist Russia.

Recently, an even more surprising monument has appeared in the town’s main square. A group of enthusiasts, with the full support of the mayor, unveiled a statue of Nicholas II, amid fanfare and the blessings of an Orthodox priest: a monument to Russia’s last tsar in the central square of a town named after the man who ordered him killed.

Continue reading...

Proposal to decriminalise the drug came after police raided a makeshift laboratory where a group of women made cannabis oil for their sick children

Lawmakers in Peru have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill to legalise medical marijuana, allowing cannabis oil to be locally produced, imported and sold.

With a vote of 68-5, Peru’s Congress approved the bill which will be written into law in 60 days, once regulations for producing and selling cannabis have been set out.

Continue reading...

Ministry of Health declines to endorse proposals to tackle teen pregnancy rates, with distribution of contraceptives to 15-year-olds branded an ‘erosion of morals’

A row has broken out in Uganda over proposals to extend sex education to 10-year-olds and give some 15-year-olds access to family planning services.

The Ministry of Health has refused to endorse the guidelines, which were designed to tackle the country’s high teenage pregnancy rate, objecting that they are morally wrong and would encourage promiscuity and abortions.

Continue reading...

March elections prefaced by misgiving as Ernest Bai Koroma’s failure to put party leadership to vote rekindles memories of former dictator Siaka Stevens

A unilateral decision by the president of Sierra Leone to choose his successor as leader of the ruling All People’s Congress has raised fears about the future of democracy in the country.

Civil society organisations, including the government watchdog group Institute for Governance Reform (IGR), have voiced concerns that Ernest Bai Koroma’s failure to allow party members to vote for their new leader echoes the actions of former dictator Siaka Stevens, who on standing down in 1985 ushered Joseph Momoh into office.

Continue reading...

Health officials struggle to contain spread of disease after virulent pneumonic strain infects 800 people across island since August

The first fatality of Madagascar’s deadly plague outbreak – which has now claimed at least 74 lives – initially went unnoticed.

In late August, according to researchers with the World Health Organization (WHO), a 31-year-old man was visiting the island’s central highlands when he developed what appeared to be the symptoms of malaria.

Continue reading...

Campaigners warn foreign workers continue to suffer abuse and exploitation in UK households after failure of safeguards designed to protect them

Campaigners have warned that thousands of foreign domestic workers remain enslaved behind the closed doors of some of Britain’s wealthiest neighbourhoods after the government failed to implement safeguards designed to protect them from abusive and exploitative employers.

In the past year, the Home Office has issued 18,950 visas under its domestic workers in private households scheme, which allows foreign families to bring domestic staff with them when staying in the UK.

Continue reading...

Research shows that, despite ‘remarkable progress’ on child mortality, many of the 5.6 million deaths last year among children aged under five were preventable

The number of children who die before reaching their fifth birthday has fallen to an all-time low, yet children around the world continue to die at an alarming rate, with 5.6 million deaths recorded last year.

In its annual report on child mortality, the UN said many of the deaths – which averaged 15,000 a day in 2016 – were from preventable diseases.

Continue reading...

With fewer slaves in the world today than there have ever been, it would cost just £650 a head to usher it into extinction – so why hasn’t that happened?

How much will it cost to end slavery? About £26.7bn, the cost of five and a half aircraft carriers or the current market value of Snapchat. That works out to about £650 for every enslaved person.

In poor countries, where most slaves live, the cost of liberation and reintegration can be lower than this; in rich countries, it can be much higher. Unfortunately, in 2014 the world’s governments were spending about £95m a year on anti-slavery. That is likely to be higher today, but still far below what is needed to achieve change. If we are serious about slavery we will need to bring three key tools to the job: money, people, and knowledge.

Continue reading...

Natalia Kanem vows to take fight for women’s reproductive health to boardrooms and beyond as she rues ‘faulty and erroneous’ Trump funding cuts

The new head of the UN population fund has vowed to be more aggressive in promoting the agency’s message to business that protecting women’s reproductive health not only saves lives, but can boost earnings.

On her first visit to London after taking up the post of executive director of the UNFPA on 3 October, Natalia Kanem said she would take the message of no deaths in childbirth, no unintended pregnancies and no violence against women and girls “into the boardroom, cafeteria, wherever it is, so people understand that life-threatening consequences multiply into societal and economic consequences”.

Continue reading...

Sita Chhaudry was sold as a slave at 10 years old. Starved, beaten and denied an education, she has since been elected to local government – and is determined to fight poverty and human rights abuses

Sita Chhaudry became a slave for the first time just after her 10th birthday. Almost every year over the next decade, her parents would sell her again and again to wealthy landowner families, for the small annual fee of $50 (£38), to clean floors, cook meals and look after children.

As a “kamlari” – domestic bonded labourer – Chhaudry was beaten, starved and forced to work 12-hour days for families across the country, many of whom had travelled long distances to “recruit” a young servant as cheaply as her poor, lower-caste parents would sell her.

Continue reading...

Spain’s government will not give way on Catalonia. The next step may ruin the province or boost the rebel cause

For years there were warnings of the impending “train crash” in Catalonia, but nothing was done to prevent it. As a result, horrified Spaniards have now spent three weeks watching a slow-motion collision that became dramatically worse with the decision to impose direct rule from Madrid.

While leaders on both sides blame each other, there is growing anger at the inability of either to swallow their pride and take a step back. “Now that we are at the cliff edge, it seems that there is no option but to step over it,” Fernando Garea, a veteran commentator at El Confidencial online newspaper, wrote. “We can then continue arguing from the bottom of the gorge.”

Continue reading...

I hope in the weeks ahead, as more of these stories come out, we can learn to listen instead of interrogate. Women have been through more than enough

Oh, you thought things couldn’t get worse? I’m sorry – have you not met 2017? As more women come forward about Harvey Weinstein, so do countless others sharing their stories of harassment and abuse by powerful – and sometimes not so powerful – men.

Whether through #metoo or new accusations and firings, it seems the floodgates have opened on outing shitty men. I suppose that’s a good thing – let’s let the truth come out, as horrible as it may be. But for a lot of women, the constant recounting of just how bad it is and can be means reliving a lot of our own worst memories.

Continue reading...

President claimed he ‘called every family of someone who’s died’ as tensions flared with sergeant’s relatives and later gave himself 10/10 on Puerto Rico

It was unclear exactly what Donald Trump hoped to achieve when he decided to cut a key element of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – subsidies to insurance companies to help them cover those on low incomes – except perhaps a sense of pure destructive joy in damaging something his predecessor built that Republicans in Congress seemed unable to dismantle. On Saturday, he, crowed that he had ended a “Dems windfall” for insurance companies.

Continue reading...

Attitudes to harassment may be changing, but there are still huge hurdles for women around the world wanting to take cases to court

Global fascination with the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein revelations has focused on Hollywood, as well as parallel scandals in international sport and the music industry, but the #metoo stream on Twitter has dragged attention to less glamorous workplaces, highlighting how difficult it is for women to raise these cases, even in countries with strong legislation on sexual harassment.

The outrage has already prompted women in all sectors to seek legal advice about how to pursue sexual harassment claims. “We’re getting many more calls since the recent scandals; women are standing up in solidarity,” said Silvia Stanciu, an employment attorney specialising in discrimination for New York law firm Phillips & Associates.

Continue reading...

#MeToo has women sharing their stories of sexual violence. Is this a social media blip or can it really be a watershed moment?

As I walked home through Melbourne last Friday night, two men harassed me on the street. It was nothing notable, just your garden-variety harassment that most women are used to. One denigrated my appearance audibly to the other, who turned to him, laughed, high-fived him. “Good call, man!”

My face burned and my pace quickened, and they watched, laughing, as I walked away. Thanks, mates. Good call.

Continue reading...

Actor Alyssa Milano’s online call after the Harvey Weinstein revelations became a conversation about men’s behaviour towards women and power imbalances

It started with an exposé detailing countless allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. But soon, personal stories began pouring in from women in all industries across the world, and the hashtag #MeToo became a rallying cry against sexual assault and harassment.

The movement began on social media after a call to action by the actor Alyssa Milano, one of Weinstein’s most vocal critics, who wrote: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

Continue reading...

The US president got the 13% right, but not the cause – and he risks contributing to another increase: in hate crime

A US study of Donald Trump’s tweets this week concluded they tell you about him more than they spark deep, insightful policy debates.

But his sudden interest in the annual crime rate in England and Wales and his conflation of this week’s 13% jump in offences with “radical Islamic terror” attacks in Britain is likely to fuel another ugly statistic published by the Home Office this week.

Continue reading...

New Zealand’s new prime minister is one of 13 female heads of government in the world

Almost one month after voting day in New Zealand, 37-year-old Jacinda Ardern has become the country’s new prime minister. Ardern’s victory, which was a surprising coup for the country’s left, makes her New Zealand’s third female prime minister and its youngest leader in 150 years.

Related: How reluctant leader Jacinda Ardern charmed New Zealand

Continue reading...

Spain’s government has said it will push ahead with suspending Catalonia’s autonomy after the region’s leader refused to abandon secession plans

A little more than two weeks after the Catalan independence referendum, which plunged Spain into its worst political crisis in 40 years, the Madrid government has announced it will take the unprecedented step of suspending Catalonia’s regional autonomy and imposing direct rule.

Continue reading...

Murdered investigative journalist’s sons tell of attempts on their mother’s life, and why they blame a ‘takedown of the rule of law’ in Malta for her death

Looking back, they had known – perhaps for a long time – that it might end like this. With hindsight, says Matthew Caruana Galizia , red-eyed from emotion and lack of sleep, it seems obvious. “This wasn’t an aberration,” he says. “It was a culmination.”

The air in the family home in the hamlet of Bidnija, half an hour’s drive from the Maltese capital, Valletta, is thick with grief and quiet anger. Police guard the entrance to the gravel driveway and the cast-iron gates in front of the house.

Continue reading...

The latest extreme weather event to hit Ireland is causing floods in the south-west as winds reach up to 50mph and the river Shannon bursts its banks in Limerick city. The entire country is expected to be affected by the storm later on Saturday before it passes across the Irish Sea towards Britain, where  the Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for parts of Wales and England

Storm Brian causes flooding in south-west Ireland

Continue reading...

The Spanish government has suspended Catalonia’s autonomy and will introduce direct rule from next Saturday. Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, says he is invoking article 155 of the constitution to ‘restore the rule of law, coexistence, the economic recovery and so that elections could be held in normal circumstances’. Pending senate approval next week, the government of Carles Puigdemont will be stripped of its powers, with its functions assumed by the relevant ministries in Madrid. Thousands of demonstrators are expected to take to the streets to protest against the imposition of direct rule

Spain government to impose direct rule over Catalonia

Continue reading...

Russia’s Vladimir Putin has said the US president, Donald Trump, should be respected because he has a democratic mandate. Speaking to an audience of foreign Russia scholars, Putin said an unprecedented anti-Russia campaign was being conducted in the US in which every domestic failure was being blamed on Moscow. But the Russian president said he believed the problems in his country’s relations with Washington could be resolved.

Continue reading...

Steve Bannon hits out at George W Bush in a speech at a California Republican party convention in New York. The far-right editor depicts the former president as bumbling and inept, faulting him for presiding over a 'destructive' presidency during his time in the White House. He says Bush embarrassed himself, didn’t know what he was talking about, and had no idea whether he was coming or going 'just like it was when he was president'

Steve Bannon blasts George Bush and calls for Republican 'revolt'

Continue reading...

The almost-holder of the US presidency tells The Graham Norton Show how she didn't feel like attending Donald Trump's inauguration in her role as a former first lady, and jokes about George W Bush's reaction to her campaign rival's speech.

• Watch the entire interview on The Graham Norton Show

Why does nobody mention that Hillary Clinton is perfectly nice?

Continue reading...

French president says speculation that Theresa May could walk away from Brexit talks without a deal is ‘noise, bluff or fake news’. Speaking at this week’s European council summit, Macron says negotiations have not even reached the halfway point and there is still ‘a lot of progress to achieve’

Continue reading...

The white supremacist Richard Spencer took the stage at the University of Florida on Thursday after his supporters threatened to sue if he was not allowed to speak. But minutes after he began to talk, the majority of the crowd of hundreds in the auditorium stood together, raised their fists and chanted: ‘Go home, Spencer! Go home, Spencer!’

Continue reading...

Known as the Eye of Bamako, Malick Sidibé took photos in dance halls, soirees and his studio. The largest ever exhibition of his work, on display at the Fondation Cartier in Paris until the end of February, includes images taken in the years after Mali’s independence from France in 1960

Continue reading...

Drone footage shows bombed-out shells of buildings in the northern city of Raqqa. Entire neighbourhoods appear to have been turned to rubble, with little sign of civilian life, after Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces announced they have driven out Islamic State after weeks of fighting  

Continue reading...

odrnews.com ©