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7-year-old takes global stage with TED talk on how Peek-A-Boo can change the world

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(Last Updated On: July 22, 2021)

A ground-breaking TED Talk by a 7-year-old girl is set to change the way parents and caregivers around the world view early childhood brain development and how adults interact with the globe’s newest citizens.

Molly Wright, a Grade 2 student from Queensland, Australia, today became one of the youngest TED speakers in history after delivering the important message to parents and caregivers the world over.

Overseen by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Michael Gracey (Director of The Greatest Showman and Producer of Rocketman), Molly’s TED Talk demonstrates the simple yet life-changing things we can all do to help children thrive.

Molly’s TED Talk was brought to life by Minderoo Foundation, one of Australasia’s largest philanthropic organisations, and aligns with Minderoo’s Thrive by Five initiative.

In the lead up to today’s global launch, Molly’s TED Talk has been shown to new parents in maternity wards in Australia (through Ramsay Health Care) and Afghanistan (via Bayat Foundation) as part of a pilot – with further plans to roll it out in hospitals around the world.

Leading philanthropist and Minderoo Foundation Co-chair Nicola Forrest AO said it was Thrive by Five’s mission to ensure every child, no matter where they grow up or who their parents are, has an equal chance to reach their full potential.

“We believe every child can, and should, thrive by the age of five,” Mrs Forrest said. “Science tells us that the volume of a child’s brain has reached 90 per cent by the age of five so we want to help set parents up for success and increase awareness of the importance of having positive interactions with children – early and often.

“Molly beautifully delivers this universal truth – that the early years are the most critical period for shaping a child’s life now, and in their future.”

Head of TED Chris Anderson said Molly’s message would resonate around the globe.

“I absolutely love this talk,” Mr Anderson said. “Ideas can come from anywhere. To hear a powerful idea like this spoken so eloquently by a child … Wow! This deserves a huge audience.”

During the pilot a survey of parents, nurses, maternal health experts, GPs and practitioners revealed positive feedback, including Professor Desiree Silva, Head of Paediatrics, Joondalup Health Campus (Perth, Australia); Ms Mariam Bayat, Director, The Bayat Foundation; and Mr Justin Graham, Group CEO, M&C Saatchi AUNZ

“Molly’s TED Talk draws on the five top tips of connect, play, talk, healthy home and community, focusing on the simple and fun things we can do in a child’s first five years that will have a profound impact on their brain development and wellbeing,” Mrs Forrest said.

“Not only is this important information to share amongst parents and carers, but policymakers and world leaders.”

Professor Desiree Silva, Head of Paediatrics, Joondalup Health Campus (Perth, Australia) meanwhile said: “The opportunity for us to share the film with patients in our Joondalup and Glengarry maternity wards and early parenting centre has been a real joy.

“The message to connect and play, early and often with children from birth to age five is vital in their development and overall wellbeing.

“New parents at our hospitals found the video educational, entertaining and inspiring.

“Molly’s TED Talk has the potential to improve the health outcomes for children on a global scale.”

Ms Mariam Bayat, Director, The Bayat Foundation also stated: “Maternal and early childhood health has been a priority for the Bayat Foundation since our inception, and the opportunity to work in partnership with the Minderoo Foundation to launch the Thrive By Five TED talk highlighting the importance of early childhood education in Afghanistan is a unique privilege for us and serves a compelling need in our country.

Sharing Molly’s TED Talk and the important lessons about positive engagement between parents and children in the critical early years of life will inspire Afghan mothers, fathers, and families to further instil critical thinking, emotional intelligence, inclusive communication, and collaborative problem-solving skills with their young children.”

“We believe that this presentation will help give rise to thousands of Afghan ‘Mollys’ in the years ahead — talented, confident, compassionate, positive, and emotionally secure Afghan children who will grow into the nation’s future doctors, educators, lawyers, and leaders, a tremendous resource for Afghanistan and a lasting tribute to the impact that passionate philanthropic organisations – Afghan and Australian – can achieve in the near and medium-term despite the daily challenges in our nation today.”

Mr Justin Graham, Group CEO, M&C Saatchi AUNZ, another partner, said: “The M&C Saatchi Group is incredibly proud to be a part of this initiative with Minderoo, Australia’s largest philanthropic agency, and the talented team at Finch Sydney.

Molly’s TED Talk will be launched via social media, in hospitals around the world, and will be supported by a global launch strategy to connect the content to the right people at the right moments.

“Minderoo is an organisation that is creating change on a global level, and we are delighted that we are able to partner with them to realise their ambitions through creative thinking.”

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ANDSF to launch offensives in north to retake fallen districts

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(Last Updated On: July 27, 2021)

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are expected to start offensives in Balkh province and across the country to retake fallen districts and areas, said Bismillah Mohammadi, acting minister of defense on Tuesday during a trip to Balkh.

According to Mohammadi, if the Taliban think they can win militarily, they are wrong.

“Hopefully we will witness our offensives across Afghanistan and we will recapture areas one after another,” said Mohammadi.

He also praised ANDSF for their achievements in Balkh, Samangan and Herat provinces.

“It is our obligation to defend the country until our last breath. We assure people that yesterday Kaldar was recaptured and earlier one district in Herat was recaptured,” said Mohammadi.

The acting minister of defense said that people, especially youths, stand by the ANDSF to defend the country.

“When I assessed the situation in Mazar, I saw that most people who stand by ANDSF were youths. Not only in the north but in all Afghanistan, uprising forces were established to defend people,” added Mohammadi.

During his visit to Balkh, Mohammadi also met Afghan army soldiers.

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Well known Afghan comedian gunned down in Kandahar

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(Last Updated On: July 27, 2021)

A well-known local comedian, Nazar Mohammad, who was known as Khasha Jawan, was gunned down on Tuesday, allegedly by the Taliban, in Kandahar, sparking widespread condemnation.

According to sources, Khasha Jawan was assaulted by the militants before being killed.

He was allegedly then dragged out of his house, with his hands tied behind his back and his body dumped in the Dand district of Kandahar.

A video doing its rounds on social media shows the militants assaulting Khasha Jawan before killing him.

Vice President Amrullah Saleh wrote on his Facebook page that Khasha Jawan was executed by the Taliban in a “kangaroo court.”

“Footage of the moments before the execution of Khasha Jawan Kandahari in a kangaroo court shows that the Taliban does not abide by Sharia; they have no court, no law, and no humanity,” Saleh said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture and Information stated that Khasha Jawan sent out strong messages through “art and allegory” to the people.

Waheed Omer, Director General at the Office of Public and Strategic Affairs of the Afghan government, stated: “Footage of Taliban killing a bound local comedian in Kandahar is a drop [in the ocean compared to] the massacre campaign that the Taliban has waged across Afghanistan.”

“Please don’t look the other way. Raise your voice on whatever stage that you have access to. These savages are after rooting our people out,” Omer tweeted.

The Taliban, however, stated that Nazar Mohammad was a member of the Afghan security forces.

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Taliban negotiating team member’s son killed in clashes in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: July 27, 2021)

Anas Haqqani, a member of the Taliban’s negotiating team, confirmed Tuesday that the son of Mohammad Nabi Omari, a member of the Taliban leadership and negotiating team, was killed in a battle with government forces.

In a tweet, Haqqani confirmed the killing of Omari. But he did not give any further details.

The Afghan government also confirmed that Abdul Haq Omari, who was the deputy chief of the Taliban military wing in Paktia province, was killed in a clash with Special Forces.

Meanwhile, Shaheen 209th Military Corps claims that a Pakistani army officer Javed was killed by NDS forces.

According to the Corps, he was a serving Pakistani army officer and was leading the Taliban in Logar, Paktia, and Paktika provinces and was killed on Tuesday morning in an operation by NDS 01 unit.

The Corps also said that a commander of tactical training and head of the Taliban Red Unit in Faryab province, along with seven of his fighters was killed.

“Qari Hayatullah, known as Osama, the head of the Taliban’s red unit and commander of the Taliban’s tactical and terrorist training for Faryab province, was killed Monday afternoon in a joint operation by defense and security forces in the village of Deh Azizan in the Sabz area of Pashtun Kot district,” read the statement.

During the operation nine other members of the group were wounded, the Corps added.

The Taliban has not commented yet.

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