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Syrian Refugees Create Their Own Talent Show

Because, you know, refugees are people just like us with quirky talents, passions and skills.

Four friends organized the talent show to bring some light into the darkness of refugee camps.

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Syrian Refugees Create Their Own Talent Show

Because, you know, refugees are people just like us with quirky talents, passions and skills.

Four friends organized the talent show to bring some light into the darkness of refugee camps.

“In Idomeni, there were so many talented people,” says Mahmoud Abdalrhim, a 25-year-old former law student from Aleppo, Syria. “We wanted to show the Europeans that refugees are talented and educated, not ignorant. [Europeans] were seeing us through a certain lens – describing us as numbers, while politicians were using us as bargaining chips. Through our videos, we wanted to show people that we are just like them.”

Mahmoud had fled Syria after the army attempted to force him to fight. He had planned on heading to Germany, where his fiancee was, but instead ended up in being stuck in Lesbos from a boat.

Mahmoud was moved to a new camp in Oraiokastro, together with his three friends – Basil, Sameer and Mustafa, the co-founders of the satirical online television channel refugees.tv, as reported by Al Jazeera News. They had been hopeful to relocate in various part in Europe but those hopes soon lessened as time passed on with no clarification from authorities.

That’s when Mahmoud, Basil, Sameer and Mustafa decided to organize a talent show.

Sameer, Mahmoud, Basil and Mustafa, the four friends behind refugees.tv, sit behind the Refugees Got Talent judges’ table in the Oreokastro refugee camp, Greece [Al Jazeera]
“We wanted the residents of the camp to forget their worries,” says Mahmoud. “And we also wanted them to remember who they were before the war. With everything that’s happened to us, many of us have forgotten who we are and how we used to be back home, when we lived a relatively normal life before the war took over. We lost our way. At the very least, we wanted to put a smile on people’s faces.”

“In Syria, we have this show, Arabs Got Talent. I always wished to take part in a show like that. I never thought I’d be a judge,” Mahmoud adds.

A volunteer had donated a speaker and microphone, and they borrowed a table from the camp school to be used for the judges. Proper buzzers were replaced with the use of camping lights to signal to the contestants if they were to move on or not.

“Most people in the camp were excited and enthusiastic about the show and wanted to see it,” says Mahmoud. “There were some who were a bit upset. Conditions in the camp were not the greatest – we had many problems and people were suffering. Some people did not understand why we would be singing and dancing in this situation. But for us, it was a release.”

Refugees performed as rappers, to singing and playing the drums.

 

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New Jersey Man Latest American Tourist to Die at Dominican Republic Resort

Joseph Allen is at least the ninth American to have died while staying at resorts in the the small Caribbean country.

An Avenel, New Jersey, man died last week while staying at a resort in the Dominican Republic, becoming at least the ninth other American tourist to die under mysterious circumstances while visiting the small Caribbean country…

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Joseph Allen is at least the ninth American to have died while staying at resorts in the the small Caribbean country.

An Avenel, New Jersey, man died last week while staying at a resort in the Dominican Republic, becoming at least the ninth other American tourist to die under mysterious circumstances while visiting the small Caribbean country.

Joseph Allen, 55, was found dead in his room Thursday at the Terra Linda Resort in Sosua, where he was celebrating a friend’s birthday, his family confirmed to NBC News. Allen’s sister-in-law said that the family was scrambling for answers.

New Jersey Man Latest American Tourist to Die at Dominican Republic Resort

Joseph Allen of Avenel, New Jersey, died last week while staying at a resort in the Dominica Republic, his family confirmed to NBC News Wednesday.

A number of other families reported stories of their relatives mysteriously dying while staying at resorts in the Dominican Republic.

Leyla Cox, 53, an MRI technician from Staten Island, was staying at the Excellence resort in Punta Cana when she died on June 11, just a day after her birthday, according to her son. Will Cox said he still does not know his mother’s cause of death and has not had the chance to mourn properly as her remains still haven’t been returned home.

He also told NBC News that a representative for the U.S. Embassy said a toxicology test would not be conducted on his mother’s body due to broken machines.

Robert Bell Wallace, 67, died while staying at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana on April 12. Wallace’s family asked for privacy and has not confirmed the circumstances of his death to NBC News.

In May, Miranda Schaup-Werner and a couple, Nathaniel Edward Holmes and Cynthia Ann Day, died over a five-day period at the Bahia Principe resort in La Romana.

Holmes and Day were found dead in their room at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana. Pulmonary edema — excess fluid in the lungs — was listed among the causes of death for the couple in preliminary reports.

The FBI, which is investigating the three May deaths, said further toxicology results on the Americans could take up to 30 days.

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ICE to Remove ‘Millions of illegal Aliens’ in US, Trump says, Scant on Details

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ICE to Remove ‘Millions of illegal Aliens’ in US, Trump says, Scant on Details

President Donald Trump late Monday announced on Twitter that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE will begin the process of “removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the U.S.,” but did not elaborate on what new measures will be taken.

“They will be removed as fast as they come,” Trump said.

Mike Morgan, the director of the agency, did not announce any new initiatives during his stop in Louisville on Sunday, where he spoke about the humanitarian and national security crisis at the border.

ICE did not immediately respond to an email from Fox News for comment.

Earlier this month, Trump announced that the U.S. reached a deal with Mexico that includes plans to return migrants seeking asylum to Mexico, where they will remain until they can be processed.

Trump praised Mexico in the tweet, saying the country has been doing a very good job at stopping those trying to gain access to the U.S. border.

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US to Send 1,000 Additional Troops to the Middle East as Tensions Escalate with Iran

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced Monday that President Donald Trump’s administration will send a thousand troops to the Middle East amid increased tensions with Iran…

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US to Send 1,000 Additional Troops to the Middle East as Tensions Escalate with Iran

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced Monday that President Donald Trump’s administration will send a thousand troops to the Middle East amid increased tensions with Iran.

Shanahan said that the increased forces were in response to a request from U.S. Central Command for defensive purposes to address air, naval and ground-based threats in the Middle East. U.S authorities accused Iran of attacks on two tankers last week, though the country’s foreign minister has denied the accusations.

“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan said. “The U.S. does not seek conflict with Iran.”

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, center, speaks about the situation in the Persian Gulf region during a meeting with Portuguese Minister of National Defense Joao Cravinho, at the Pentagon on June 14, 2019.

The decision comes hours after the State Department said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo planned to meet with U.S. military commanders overseeing American forces to provide more proof that Iran was behind the tanker attacks.

U.S. Central Command said the two vessels were hit Thursday by a limpet mine, which is attached to boats below the waterline using magnets.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif angrily dismissed the claims and said they were without “a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence.”

The Japanese owner of one of the tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman contradicted reports by U.S. officials and the military on the source of the blast, claiming it was struck by a flying projectile.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with pan-Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat last week that he would not hesitate to confront regional threats.

“The kingdom does not want war in the region, but we will not hesitate to deal with any threat to our people, our sovereignty and our vital interests,” Salman said.

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