News Buzz

June 2023

Veteran playwright Shoaib Hashmi passes away

Veteran playwright, actor and academic Shoaib Hashmi passed away after a protracted illness in Lahore.

Shoaib Hashmi obtained Master’s of Arts degree from the Government College, Lahore and economics degree from the London School of Economics (LSE). He also obtained a theatre degree from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London. He was a teacher at the Government College for many years and was an inspiration for his students as he had a vast knowledge with which he endeared himself to everyone he met.

Besides, he wrote and acted in several plays for the PTV in the 70s. His well-known plays include Akkar Bakkar, Sach Gupp and Taal Matol. Shoaib Hashmi also wrote a column Taal Matol for a local publication and had a wide readership. He was honoured with awards by the government. His wife Salima Hashmi is the daughter of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. They have two children, Adeel Hashmi and Mira Hashmi.

Meghan receives Ms. Foundation’s Woman of Vision Award

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, encouraged women to find inspiration to fight for equity as she accepted the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Award in May, with Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown.

“It’s never too late to start,” Meghan said at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in Manhattan. “You can be the visionary of your own life... There is still so much work to be done.”

Her acceptance speech closed out the Ms. Foundation for Women’s annual gala, part of the nation’s oldest women’s foundation celebration of its 50th anniversary. The gala also kicked off the foundation’s largest fundraising campaign ever — $100 million over the next 12 months — that will be used to further the organization’s equity-centered initiatives and its mission of advancing women’s collective power.

The foundation is already more than halfway to its goal. It announced that the late photographer and philanthropist Lucia Woods Lindley donated $50 million, the largest bequest in the foundation’s history. Proceeds from the gala itself raised another $1 million, and nearly $500,000 was donated by attendees during dinner. Though the event was her first public appearance since she skipped the coronation of her father-in-law King Charles III earlier this month in order to stay at home in California for her son Prince Archie’s fourth birthday, she made no mention of the ceremony. Her husband Prince Harry attended the coronation in London and then rushed back to California.

Cannes Film Festival sparks hope

Optimism rises for independent film companies as Cannes Film Festival showcases a market rebound with the return of cinema audiences.

Independent film companies facing a market upended by the entry of streaming services are showing some optimism heading into this year’s Cannes Film Festival as the Netflix era has begun flattening out and audiences start trickling back into cinemas post-pandemic.

While buyers are being cautious about purchasing volumes amid a shaky global economy, they are showing up at festivals and being active – a trend that Todd Brown, head of international acquisitions at U.S.-based XYZ Films, said he expects to continue.

G7 struggles with response to China ‘economic coercion’ threat

The G7 countries all agree on the threat of China’s economic coercion. But reaching a consensus on concrete action to counter Beijing promises to be a challenge for the club of wealthy democracies amid divisions over how to manage ties with the world’s second-biggest economy.

The leaders of the G7 — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — have signalled that China’s use of punitive trade measures will be high on the agenda of their three-day annual summit, which kicks off in Hiroshima, Japan, on Friday. European Union leaders will also be present.

China’s use of coercive economic moves has been an issue of growing concern in the Asia Pacific and Europe in recent years, with Japan, South Korea, Australia and Lithuania all facing trade restrictions following disputes with Beijing on issues ranging from the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic to Taiwan.

While the G7 is expected to release a statement that will express concern about China’s economic coercion and propose ways to work together on the issue, it is unclear how far Japan and European members may be willing to go with measures that could antagonise Beijing given their heavy reliance on Chinese trade.

Tom Hanks joins striking Hollywood writers

Tom Hanks, the beloved US actor, has joined the ranks of striking Hollywood writers, declaring that society is at “an evolutionary crossroads.” Hanks, currently on a tour promoting his debut novel, “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece,” revealed that he, too, is participating in the strike.

Over 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) recently initiated the strike after their contracts expired. The union is advocating for higher minimum pay, an increased number of writers per show, and reduced exclusivity on single projects, among other demands. These conditions, they argue, have been undermined during the content boom of the streaming era.

During a discussion at an event in Los Angeles, Hanks drew parallels between the current strike and those of the 1980s, in which he had actively participated. He highlighted the similarities with the rise of home video at that time and the emergence of streaming services today.

“It was because there was something coming down the pipe… there was this new thing coming, a new revenue stream – it was home video,” Hanks explained.

Sri Lanka’s airline posts $525 million annual loss

Cash-strapped Sri Lanka’s national airline announced a staggering $525 million annual loss in May.

With nearly 6,000 staff, Sri Lankan Airlines is the biggest and most expensive of the cash-haemorrhaging state companies that have drained the budget and compounded the worst financial crisis in Sri Lanka’s history. The carrier lost 163.58 billion rupees (USD 525 million) in the year to March 2022 -- more than three times its deficit in the previous 12 months, when air travel was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline missed interest payments on a USD 175 million bond in December, eight months after the government itself defaulted on its sovereign debt after running out of foreign exchange.

Cyclone Mocha may have killed ‘hundreds’ in Myanmar

Rescue and relief efforts are under way in north-western Myanmar and neighbouring Bangladesh after Cyclone Mocha crashed ashore, with one humanitarian group working in the affected area saying hundreds had been killed and some Rohingya camps destroyed.

The cyclone – one of the most powerful to ever hit the region – made landfall on Sunday between Sittwe in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, where some one million mostly Muslim Rohingya fled after a brutal 2017 crackdown.

Myanmar’s military regime declared conflict-hit Rakhine, which it does not fully control, a “disaster area”, after winds as strong as 250 kilometres per hour (155 miles per hour) brought down trees and telecommunication towers and ripped roofs from buildings.

Torrential rain and a storm surge of between 3 and 3.5 metres (10-11.5 feet) also caused widespread flooding in the low-lying area, with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) saying there had been widespread destruction in and around Sittwe.

More than two million people were living in the path of Cyclone Mocha, including hundreds and thousands of Rohingya who remained in Rakhine following the 2017 crackdown where they were living in squalid camps with severe restrictions on their movement.

Mariyam D Rizwan to revolutionise fashion industry

Designer Mariyam D. Rizwan has been changing the landscape of fashion with her distinguished designs for over seven years.

Having previously worked with globally renowned names in fashion such as Ted Baker and H&M, it’s no wonder that her silhouettes are adorned by some of Pakistan’s most iconic fashionistas. In 2022 we saw designer clothing everywhere on some of our favourite leading ladies.

Her brand has only grown exponentially since it first began in 2015. In 2022, people saw her collections range from luxury pret, ready-to-wear, luxury formals, and so much more. However, one outfit that couldn’t be missed was a black and silver ensemble worn by Saba Qamar for the promotion of her film ‘Kamli’.

Indian wrestlers fight sexual abuse

Olympian wrestler Vinesh Phogat joins her palms together and mimics holding her niece as a newborn as she recounts the “trigger point” that made her decide to protest about the sexual harassment of female wrestlers in India.

“I started thinking about my brother’s [now 9-year-old] daughter who has started wrestling,” Phogat, 28, said at a sit-in in the Indian capital New Delhi.

“Somehow we managed to struggle, we fought and reached certain heights in this game. But to push her and other girls into this when we know how bad it is … I just couldn’t.”

It has been nearly three weeks since some of India’s top wrestlers – Olympians and world champions – resumed living on a footpath in central Delhi to demand the removal and arrest of the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, for allegedly sexually harassing female athletes for more than a decade.

Seven female wrestlers, including a minor, have filed police complaints against him; accusing him of stalking, touching them with sexual intent, making sexual remarks and “outraging their modesty”.

According to news reports, two wrestlers claim Singh touched their breasts and stomach on the pretext of checking their breathing on several occasions. He is alleged to have done it at a restaurant, at a tournament and at the WFI office.