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Marvia MalikA Pakistani news channel has hired the country’s first transgender TV newsreader. Marvia Malik, a journalism graduate who has also worked as a model, told the BBC she was moved to tears when she was offered the job.

She anchored her first show on private broadcaster Kohenoor on Friday, after three months of training.

Transgender people face discrimination in Pakistan and many struggle to find employment. Some are forced into begging, dancing or prostitution to earn money. Continue reading


Brasilien Belo Horizonte Fußball WM Halbfinale Deutschland vs Brasilien (picture-alliance/AP Photo/N. Pisarenko)

When Germany host Brazil in an international friendly in Berlin on Tuesday, it will be the first time that the two teams have faced each other since the Germans embarassed Brazil 7-1 in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup.

For Tite, Brazil’s national team coach, the crushing defeat at the Mineirao stadium in Sao Jose in eastern Brazil still stings.

“The 7-1 at the World Cup is like a ghost,” Tite said in an interview published in this Monday’s edition of the German sports publication Kicker. “It’s present, people still talk about it, but the more you talk about it, the less this ‘ghost’ disappears … [Tuesday’s friendly] won’t just be a sporting challenge, but a huge emotional challenge too”.


Berlin Training Nationalmannschaft Deutschland (picture-alliance/dpa/C. Charisius)

German national team coach Joachim Löw is planning to make at least six changes to his team ahead of Tuesday night’s friendly against Brazil in Berlin – the final game before the announcement of Germany’s provisional World Cup squad on May 15.

Thomas Müller and Mesut Özil have both been allowed to return home after featuring in Germany’s 1-1 draw with Spain in Düsseldorf on Friday, while goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen will also make way.

Sami Khedira and Jonas Hector are to be given a rest while Emre Can has left the squad with a back problem. Marvin Plattenhardt, Ilkay Gündogan, Leroy Sané and Matthias Ginter are all set to come into the team, while Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp will play one half each in goal.

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin on Monday, Löw confirmed that Jerome Boateng will captain the side in his hometown, a challenge the Bayern Munich central defender is relishing.

“Since I was a child I have dreamed of playing in the Olympic Stadium against Brazil,” the 29-year-old said, ahead of the first senior meeting between the two countries since Germany’s infamous 7-1 win in the 2014 World Cup semifinal in Brazil.

“We couldn’t really believe it,” recalled Boateng. “But at halftime, we said we had to see the game out professionally and that’s what we did in the second half.”

Asked by visiting Brazilian journalists how important that semifinal was to Germans, Löw responded: “I think it’s more important in Brazil than here. Of course it was a big game for us, but it was a step on our route to the final. Concentrating on beating Brazil’s arch rivals [Argentina] in the final was more important.”

Fußball-WM 2014 Halbfinale Brasilien - Deutschland 1:7 (picture-alliance/dpa)The 7-1 defeat to Germany was the biggest humiliation in Brazil’s footballing history

Nevertheless, Löw and his players are adamant that Tuesday’s clash in Berlin represents a different challenge.

“Brazil have improved noticeably under their new coach, Tite, who has given them a new mentality. It’s no secret that Brazil love to play attacking football but now they are more disciplined defensively as well,” Löw said.

“In 2014, we didn’t focus on a single superstar; ultimately, the team performance takes precedence over individual class.”

Brazil’s greatest superstar, Neymar, will miss the game through injury, but the 72,717 capacity crowd in the Olympic Stadium can still look forward to watching a host of top names, including: Thiago Silva and Daniel Alves (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcelo and Casemiro (Real Madrid), Philippe Coutinho  (Barcelona), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) and Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).

“Friday night [against Spain] was a test at the very highest level. When you look at the statistics, both teams had incredibly high successful pass ratios which shows that it was a match between two technically strong teams – and we expect more of that tomorrow [against Brazil],” Löw said.

“We’re glad to be able to play against such opposition because we can learn a lot. Germany can still get better. We must get better and we will get better.”


Falmata at home
Campaign group Amnesty International says that the Nigerian army ignored repeated warnings of an attack on Dapchi town, hours before 110 schoolchildren were kidnapped from the government girl’s school.

They said they spoke to 23 different local leaders who said they saw the militants in the vicinity on the day of the attack.

The local leaders alerted the Nigerian army to the presence of a convoy of militants in a village called Gumsa, about 30km (18 miles) from Dapchi town.

That was early on Monday 19 February. Later that evening, militants attacked the school on at least nine vehicles, kidnapping 110 children. Continue reading


Fußball Nationalmannschaft - Ankunft am Teamhotel (picture-alliance/dpa/K. Bergmann)

Even before the players nominated to his latest Germany squad arrived in Düsseldorf on Tuesday, Joachim Löw warned those on the fringes needed to convince him that they should be on the plane when it leaves for Russia in June.

“Before we name the final World Cup squad, we want to see and feel that the players put our goals above everything else and give everything they’ve got to achieve them,” Löw said after he arrived that the team hotel on Monday. “If we want to be successful in Russia, we will have to have an unconditional hunger for success.”

With 26 players, Löw has named a relatively large squad for these two friendlies, meaning that at least three of them won’t make it to Russia – and probably more than that, assuming that first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and the oft-injured Marco Reus regain fitness in time for the World Cup. Also notably absent from the latest squad is Reus’ Dortmund teammate Mario Götze.

The fact that just eight players from Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning team are included in the latest squad is a reflection of Löw’s policy of gradual renewal based not on a player’s history, but his current form and fitness. Seventeen were part of the relatively young team that won last year’s Confederations Cup in Russia.


Woman driving with full face veil (picture-alliance/dpa/R. Kremming)Germany’s top court on Monday rejected a Muslim woman’s request to suspend a ban on driving while wearing a face veil.

The woman had argued that the face veil ban for drivers violated her religious freedom.

The Karlsruhe based court found the woman, who has worn the niqab for seven years, failed to explain how the law violated her religious freedom or why she faced harm driving unveiled.

According to traffic laws, drivers must have “unhindered all-around visibility” in order to protect other drivers and may” not cover up or obscure their face so that it is no longer recognizable”.

The law, which was approved in September last year, also aims to help police identify and prosecute drivers for traffic violations.


Women walk on the streets of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (picture-alliance/dpa/Sputnik/M. Voskresenskiy)

Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said that women should choose for themselves whether they want to wear black robes and face coverings. Although his remarks could signify a big step for women’s rights, there was one catch.

Saudi Arabia’s religiously conservative rules constraining the actions and attire of women are showing signs of possibly relaxing. In an interview with US broadcaster CBS on Sunday night, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said women should be able to choose what they wear.Saudi Arabien - Schülerinnen - Symbolbild (Getty Images/AFP/F. Nureldine)

“The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of Sharia [Islamic law]: that women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men,” Prince Mohammed said in an interview with the CBS’ show “60 Minutes.” Continue reading


US President Donald Trump has called for drug traffickers to face the death penalty as part of his plan to combat the US painkiller-addiction epidemic.

He outlined the proposal during a speech in New Hampshire, a state badly affected by the opioid crisis.

Mr Trump said his administration was attempting to change the law to execute drug dealers, but it will face stiff political and judicial headwinds. Opioids are a class of drugs including prescription painkillers and heroin. Continue reading


Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba “can’t be happy” finding to be out of favour at Old Trafford, says France coach Didier Deschamps.

Pogba, 25, is in the France squad for friendlies with Colombia and Russia, after being an unused substitute for United against Brighton on Saturday.

“I’m sure I’ll hear more about it,” said Deschamps. “But of course it’s a situation he won’t be enjoying.” United return to Premier League action against Swansea on 31 March. Continue reading


Seeding rules in women’s tennis are a “kind of punishment” for players such as Serena Williams after maternity leave and “should be changed”, says the tournament director of the Miami Open.

James Blake, a former world number four, was speaking after Williams, 36, was drawn against Naomi Osaka in the opening round of this week’s event.

She is unseeded after taking 13 months off to have her first child.

“It makes sense to protect someone who goes on maternity leave,” said Blake. Continue reading

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