The family is the cornerstone of Islam's social structure, its source of stability, and the foundation upon which it may carry out its mission. Islam paid close attention to the development of the family throughout its stages and established all of its specific rights, obligations, morals, and manners within the framework of sensitive emotions that shield it from destructive storms.

Islam desired early marriage in order for the Islamic system to take root and for values that resist deviation and corruption to prevail in society by blocking its pretexts and erecting barriers that prevent its occurrence.

 Nothing protects against deviation more than early marriage, which leads to preoccupation with lofty matters without their insignificance and vulgarity. Early marriage also leads to taking responsibility instead of being preoccupied with empty fun in which the energies of many young people are wasted, and what energies they have!

If the condition for marriage is legal puberty, this does not preclude taking into account psychological maturity and the practical ability to bear the consequences of marriage, both psychologically and physically. This is a relative matter that requires good judgment on the part of parents and moderation and reasonableness in controlling society. We refer to this with the concept of ability, which came in the honorable hadith: "O young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry…"  Sahih Muslim 1400c.

There are many pieces of evidence for encouraging early marriage in the Qur’an and Sunnah, including the Almighty’s saying: "And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and knowing." (An-Nur: 32); Meaning: Hasten to marry off your young men and women who have no husband.

Abdullah (b. Mas'ud) (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said to us: "O young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes (from casting evil glances) and preserves one from immorality; but he who cannot afford It should observe fast for it is a means of controlling the sexual desire."

And Muslim narrated on the authority of Fatimah bint Qais that the Prophet (ﷺ), advised her to marry Osama bin Zaid when her husband divorced her and more than one of the companions wanted to marry her so the Prophet (ﷺ) said to her: "Marry Usamah bin Zaid. So, I married him. And Allah prospered him very much and I was envied.”  Osama bin Zaid was under the age of sixteen at that time.

The Messenger of Allah said: "When someone whose religion and character you are pleased with proposes to (someone under the care) of one of you, then marry to him. If you do not do so, then there will be turmoil (Fitnah) in the land and abounding discord (Fasad)." Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1084

  He called for the facilitation of marriage and the response of matched persons if they came to propose to girls.

And if we try to find the purposes envisaged by the Sharia to encourage early marriage, we find many of those noble purposes, including:

  • Early marriage is the best way to protect young men and women from the wide moral corruption that strikes the entire world currently. Corruption that is breaking into people's homes through modern means of communication, with the wide sedition it carries, spreads like wildfire. There is no doubt that early marriage is a protection against falling into these traps of Satan.
  • There is no doubt that it is a blessing for a person to have sons and daughters in his youth, so that the sons enjoy the long company of their parents and the abundance of their activity and giving, and the spouses see their grandchildren. This blessing is among the blessings of Alaah Almighty upon His servants Who says: " And Allah has made for you from yourselves mates and has made for you from your mates sons and grandchildren and has provided for you from the good things. Then in falsehood do they believe and in the favor of Allah they disbelieve?" (An-Nahl: 72), and among what historians narrate is that “Amr ibn al-Aas was only twelve years older than his son Abdullah.

Dr Alexis Carrell, in his book " Man The Unknown", says: "The shorter the time distance between two generations, the stronger the literary influence of adults on the young, and therefore women must be mothers at a young age, so that they are not separated from their children by a large gap that cannot be filled, even by love."

  • Early marriage also honors the spouses and guarantees their care if they need care. When their children grow up in their youth, then they are more able to honor them, unlike if the marriage is delayed, so the spouses grow up and their children are young or in the beginnings of youth. Caring for parents in old age is one of the goals and valid purposes of marriage. The Almighty says: "And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, "My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims." [Al-Ahqaf: 15]
  • Early marriage is an asset in developing a sense of responsibility among young men and women, with the required rehabilitation and psychological, cognitive and practical preparation at the same time. Instinct is undoubtedly active and present in stimulating early maturity when a young man knows that he has a wife who is his concubine and he is her caretaker, responsible for her and guardian of her, and when the girl knows that she has become in a position of responsibility and the husband and the house have become in her responsibility.
  • Early marriage leads to enhancing the psychological health of both spouses when they find someone who takes care of them and takes care of their affairs and is keen to please and make them happy. And in the Holy Book, the Almighty said: " And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought (Al-Rum: 21) And the Almighty said: " It is He who created you from one soul and created from it its mate that he might dwell in security with her. And when he covers her, she carries a light burden and continues therein. And when it becomes heavy, they both invoke Allah, their Lord, "If You should give us a good [child], we will surely be among the grateful." (Al-A’raf: 189), There is no doubt that young people need this and are happier with it.
  • Early marriage is an aid to worship when the heart is devoted to that, as the soul fulfills its desire from marriage, so it clears its paths for obedience, worship, and noble affairs. Tawoos said: “The ritual of a young man is not complete until he gets married.” Marriage, without a doubt, helps a person to preserve his religion and obey his Lord. Sahl bin Sa'd (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "Whosoever gives me a guarantee to safeguard what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I shall guarantee him Jannah." [Al-Bukhari].  And in the authentic hadith on the authority of Abu Dharr on the authority of the Prophet, (ﷺ) said: "and in the sexual act of each one of you there is a charity. They said, "O Messenger of Allah, when one of us fulfills his sexual desire will he have some reward for that? He said, "Do you (not) think that were he to act upon it is an unlawfully he would be sinning?" Likewise, if he has acted upon it a lawfully, he will have a reward.
  • Early marriage is a pre-emptive confrontation with the phenomenon of spinsterhood, which has become rampant in Muslim societies until we have millions of girls in every Muslim country who have reached the age of thirty without marriage. Life is not upright, and the divine honor of man is not achieved without emotional and instinctive gratification. It is astonishing that the West opens the door to unbridled sexual relations to both sexes at a young age, and we stress ourselves in marriage in a way that great interests are lost and great corruptions are replaced.

Together, these considerations call on us, as Muslims, to reconsider the issue of marriage in order to facilitate its causes without extravagance, to expedite it without procrastination, and to celebrate it as a ritual, law, obedience, worship, guidance, and building.

     Read the article in Arabic

Generations Communication Forum in support of the joint Arab action will contribute to crystalizing a unified vision, Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ramtane Lamamra said Sunday. Lamamra made the statement during inaugurating the forum in Oran city, west of Algeria, in which Kuwait is taking part.

He said that the gathering aims to activate the role of Arab civil society in addressing the issues that concern the Arab world and meeting aspirations of the Arab nations.

The forum forms an opportunity to revive the historical memory of the Arab nations in terms of culture and civilization, which are the bases of the national identity of the Arab nation, he stressed.

He stated that this forum is being held a few weeks before the next Arab summit to be hosted by Algeria.

This coincides with the 68th anniversary of the November revolution in Algeria that was a title of the unity of the Arab ranks and the solidarity of Arab peoples and countries with the struggle of the Algerian people's liberation.

The five-day event is featuring a number of officials and activities of the civil society as well as some high-level academics from 19 Arab countries.

Of the attendees is Kawthar al-Jawan, head of Women's Institute for Development and Peace./KUNA

A local government's decision in August to shut down 34 schools in India's northeastern state — after none of their students passed a critical exam this year necessary to receive a graduation certificate — has been termed by critics as "illogical" and "senseless."

Hundreds of thousands of students from schools in the state of Assam sat for the High School Leaving Certificate exam. More than 1,000 students, from the 34 schools that were shut down, failed the exam.

Although parents and teachers blamed the inconveniences faced by the students during COVID-19 lockdowns for the poor results, the Assam government chose to close down the 34 schools — which are mostly located in rural areas — and send all students to better-performing schools in the neighboring areas.

"It is the primary duty of schools to impart education to children. If a school fails to perform this duty and students fail the crucial exam like HSLC, it is pointless to keep running the school," Assam's education minister Ranoj Pegu said.

"The government cannot spend taxpayer's money for schools with zero success record."

The performance of some 2,500 other schools is also being assessed, and more schools are likely to be closed for what the government insists are "performance-related reasons," several sources said.

Teachers and education activists blamed the poor infrastructure of the government schools in Assam as the root cause of the crisis.

"By shutting down the schools the government is handing out a collective punishment to the students and teachers. They should have rather conducted a survey in all government schools to find out why exactly the students performed badly," Bhupen Sarma a teacher and educationist in Assam told VOA.

"Following the survey, with the help from expert agencies, the government should have adopted policies to improve the infrastructure in those schools."

In the past six years, 6,000 government elementary schools — where first through fifth grade students usually study — have also been closed by the government in Assam.

In most cases those schools were closed because very few students were attending, the government said.

Sarma said "poor infrastructure" in those elementary schools was the main factor that led to their closure.

"Some of those schools had no teacher at all. Others had only one teacher in each school, for students of five different classes [grades]," Sarma said. "Since the government kept the infrastructure of those elementary schools in very poor shape, most families avoided sending their children to those schools, and finally the government closed down those 6,000 schools."

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, course work for many students, mostly in rural areas, were disrupted and it was one of the reasons why the students of those 34 schools performed poorly in the HSLC exam, Sarma added.

"The government [public] high schools in Assam's rural areas often have a lack of teachers. This factor might have also contributed to the failure of the students in the HSLC exams. Instead of taking steps like finding out the reasons behind the students' failure in the exams and addressing those faults, they took a senseless decision to close down the schools," he said.

Recently, after the government responded to a Right to Information application, from some activists, it became known that in Assam there were 3,221 schools, each having only one teacher and 341 of them had no teacher at all.

Souvik Ghoshal, a high school teacher in the neighboring state of West Bengal said that during the COVID-19 lockdowns many students across the country could not study well, which might have been an important reason behind the failure of the students in the Assam schools.

"Most of the poor and lower middle-class families send their children to government schools in India. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, almost all schools switched to the online mode, most of the children in the government schools — especially in rural areas — could not afford to have their smart phones that they needed to attend the online classes," Ghoshal told the VOA.

"Some, despite having smartphones in their families, could not arrange money to pay for the Internet services. Only a small section of the government school students could regularly attend the online classes during the lockdowns."

A survey conducted last year by a group of educationists across over 15 Indian states, including Assam, indicated that during the COVID-19 lockdowns only 24% students in urban areas had attended the online classes regularly. And, in the rural areas, just 8% of the students had regular access to online classes.

Mahmud Hossain, a teacher in Assam's Barpeta district, blamed a shortage of teachers as the biggest reason for the poor performance of the students in Assam.

"Most teachers happen to be posted in urban areas. The crisis of teachers is more acute in rural areas. This is why the students in rural areas are performing badly in exams," Hossain told VOA.

As per India's National Education Policy 2020, every school should ensure that the pupil-teacher ratio, there is below 30:1. In areas with large numbers of socially and economically disadvantaged students the PTR should be under 25:1, according to the policy.

Across socioeconomically disadvantaged rural areas of Assam' schools, the PTR is as dismal as 150:1, Sarma said.

"Over 70% of the elementary to high school standard students in Assam study in government schools — they cannot go to private schools where the educational infrastructure is better," Sharma said.

"The government has to upgrade the infrastructure of the government schools if they want the students to perform well."

French police have opened an investigation into claims by World Cup winner Paul Pogba that he is the victim of a multi-million euro blackmail plot by gangsters involving his brother.

Pogba's allegations came after his brother Mathias Pogba published a bizarre video online –– in four languages (French, Italian, English and Spanish) –– promising "great revelations" about the Juventus star.

The police investigation was confirmed by a source close to the case to AFP news agency

A statement signed by the Juventus player's lawyers, his mother Yeo Moriba and current agent Rafaela Pimenta said that the videos published on Saturday night "are unfortunately no surprise".

"They are in addition to threats and extortion attempts by an organised gang against Paul Pogba," read the statement.

"The competent bodies in Italy and France were informed a month ago and there will be no further comments in relation to the ongoing investigation."

Mathias 'explosive revelation'

Mathias, 32, promised "great revelations about (his) brother Paul Pogba and his agent Rafaela Pimenta", who took over as head of the company of former agent Mino Raiola who died in April.

He said the "whole world, as well as my brother's fans, and even more so the French team and Juventus, my brother's team-mates and his sponsors deserve to know certain things".

Also a professional footballer, Mathias said people needed to know what he knew in order to judge whether his brother "deserves his place in the French team and the honour of playing in the World Cup. If he deserves to be a starter at Juventus."

"All this is likely to be explosive," he concluded without adding any substance to his "revelations".

Millions demanded from Paul

According to two sources close to the Pogba family contacted by AFP, large sums of money are being demanded from Pogba if he wants to avoid the dissemination of the allegedly compromising videos.

France Info reported that Paul Pogba told investigators he had been threatened by "childhood friends and two hooded men armed with assault rifles".

They are demanding $12.9 million from him for "services provided".

A source close to the matter confirmed the France Info reports to AFP.

Kylian Mbappe's name also came up in the affair.

Pogba explained to investigators that his blackmailers wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a marabout (holy man) to cast a spell on the Paris Saint-Germain and France star, which Pogba denies.

Late Sunday, Mathias reacted to the day's developments.

"Paul, you really wanted to shut me up and lie and send me to prison," wrote Mathias.

"You left me in the hole, while running away and you want to play the innocent. When all is said people will see that there is no bigger coward, bigger traitor and bigger hypocrite than you on this earth."

Pogba, who won the World Cup with France in 2018, returned to Juventus on a free transfer this summer after six years at Manchester United and is currently sidelined with a knee injury.

The 29-year-old is expected to return to action next month.

Source: AFP

World Cup organisers have sent 1,300 buses onto the streets of Qatar's capital Doha in a test of what they have called one of the most elaborate transport operations ever mounted for an international event.

"This is the most complex transport operations ever mounted for a major sporting event," said Ahmad al Obaidly, chief operating officer of Mowasalat, on Thursday. 

Mowasalat operates Qatar's bus and taxi services.

In the first scrutiny of their years of preparations, organisers mimmicked the schedule for the busiest days of the tournament when about 300,000 fans could be in Doha at the same time.

Amid sweltering summer heat, hundreds of air-conditioned but mainly empty buses went out to stadiums, metro stations and pickup points.

At the Al Wakra metro station in the Doha suburbs, more than 1,000 Mowasalat drivers pretended to be fans to be ferried to the Al Janoub stadium five kilometres away.

The Al Bayt stadium, where the opening game will be held on November 20, does not have its own metro station.

With more than one million people expected to descend on the tiny Gulf state for the tournament, the government is taking no chances with their multi-billion dollar preparations.

And getting the football hordes around the city and between the eight stadiums promises to be one of the biggest challenges.

'No fan will be left behind'

Hundreds of buses without passengers plied the 25 kilometres to the nearest station in the new city of Lusail, as they will when they take England and US fans to their match.

The buses even made the return journey after midnight to copy conditions for the Group B late night game.

"We want to make sure our plans are going in the right direction," said Thani Al Zarraa, mobility operations director for the Qatar organisers.

Obaidly said 3,000 buses had been purchased and there would be more than 4,000 on the streets for the World Cup.

The company has also doubled its number of drivers to 14,000 for the event. Most have been brought in from South Asia and Africa.

They have been trained in "defensive driving" to avoid on-the-road hazards and there are "contingency plans" for troublesome spectators, the executive said.

Each bus also has five CCTV cameras monitored at a central command centre for troublemakers.

After the tournament, Qatar's older buses will be given away and as part of its World Cup legacy, it will be "one of the first countries in the world to have a pure electric public transportation service," said Obaidly.

Al Zarraa advised visiting fans to plan their trips in advance and "be patient". But the bus company chief promised: "No fan will be left behind."

Source: AFP

President Joe Biden wiped $3.9 billion from the student loan records Tuesday.

More than 200,000 former students, who still owe on a federal student loan from their time at ITT Technical Institute will see their loan balances cleared, whether they’ve applied for forgiveness or not.

ITT Educational Services closed its campuses in 2016 after years of questioning and scrutiny of its accreditation standards and recruiting processes. At the time, the institution had about 45,000 students across 130 campuses.

Some of the former students were already eligible for federal student loans forgiveness but this move applies to all borrowers who took on debt attending the school between 2005 and September 2016, when the school closed.

This brings the total amount of loan discharges under Biden to nearly $32 billion and leaves many wondering what more could be forgiven or at least if payments will remain on pause.

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The pause has been helpful for millions

After mortgages, student loans make up the biggest chunk of household debt at more than $1.5 trillion, according to the Brookings Institution.

At the start of the pandemic, the government froze student loan repayments for most borrowers. In April, the White House extended the moratorium for the sixth time through to August 31.

“This pause will help 41 million people keep up with their monthly bills and meet their basic needs,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in an announcement. “It will give borrowers some urgently needed time to prepare for a return to repayment.”

A letter addressed to Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and signed by more than 100 lawmakers highlighted those positive effects of the freeze.

“For the first time, many borrowers have had the opportunity to pay down debt, open a savings account, purchase a home, and save for retirement — none of which would have been possible without the payment pause.”

As the letter pointed out, many used the break to save up to buy homes, pay off credit cards or catch up on other bills.

“Resuming student loan payments would force millions of borrowers to choose between paying their federal student loans or putting a roof over their heads, food on the table, or paying for child care and health care,” the lawmakers wrote.

A path to forgiveness

Mark Kantrowitz, a student loans expert who’s written five books about scholarships and financial aid, says there are three potential paths to forgiveness: regulation, legislation or executive authority.

If the president were to use executive action to cancel student debt, he would face legal challenges that Kantrowitz does not expect would not go Biden’s way. And Congress has not yet passed legislation for broad loan forgiveness, nor does it seem poised to.

Regulation might be the president’s best bet, says Kantrowitz, whose books include How to Appeal for More Financial Aid.

The federal government offers four income-driven repayment plans, which set loan payments at amounts meant to be affordable to borrowers based on their incomes and family size.

Most people forget these are also loan forgiveness plans, Kantrowitz says. After making qualifying payments for 20 or 25 years, depending on the plan, borrowers can have their remaining debt eliminated. Those who work in public service may qualify for forgiveness after just 10 years of payments.

One of four plans — the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan — gives the U.S. Department of Education broad regulatory authority such that it could be remade into a means-tested loan forgiveness program, says Kantrowitz.

Means testing, a method of determining eligibility for government assistance, is a way of addressing the concern over helping people who might not need it.

Biden “doesn’t believe that — that millionaires and billionaires, obviously, should benefit or even people from the highest income,” former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said after Biden’s remarks in the spring. “So that’s certainly something he would be looking at.”

Will he or won’t he?

One likely reason that Biden hasn’t followed through on his campaign proposal is the economic and geopolitical fallout of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, says Siri Terjesen, a management professor and associate dean at Florida Atlantic University.

“With year-on-year inflation closing in on 10%, policymakers who remember basic economics will want to curb further stimulus in order to bring inflation back under control,” she said in an email. “A large student loan forgiveness program would drive up inflation even faster.”

Since the beginning of 2020, Biden has forgiven billions of dollars worth of student debt through other programs. Those include plans for borrowers who were misled by their schools, those with disabilities and others who work in public service.

The push for more continues.

The majority of Americans support student debt cancellation, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren argued in a Senate committee hearing this spring.

“There is scarcely a working person in America who does not have a friend or family member or coworkers who is weighted down by student loan debt,” said Warren, who supports forgiving $50,000 per borrower.

Canceling that amount would cost $904 billion and forgive the full balances of about 30 million — or 79% — of borrowers, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York economists.

Forgiving $10,000 per borrower would cost $321 billion and eliminate the entire balance for 11.8 million borrowers, or about 31%.

Adding an income cap to forgiveness proposals “substantially reduces the cost of student loan forgiveness and increases the share of benefit going to borrowers who are more likely to struggle repaying their debts,” the report says.

Potential problems with broad student debt forgiveness

Advocates of broad forgiveness argue that student loans contribute to racial and socioeconomic wealth gaps. But there are better ways to reduce racial wealth gaps, argues Adam Looney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Looney posits that student loan forgiveness is regressive and only targeted debt relief policies can work to address inequities caused by federal student loan programs.

“Measured appropriately, student debt is concentrated among high-wealth households and loan forgiveness is regressive whether measured by income, educational attainment, or wealth,” he writes. “Across-the-board forgiveness is therefore a costly and ineffective way to reduce economic gaps by race or socioeconomic status.”

The next steps

Kantrowitz expects Biden to make one more extension of the payment pause and interest waiver that will last until after the upcoming midterm elections.

While the White House has kept its cards close to its chest, Kantrowitz believes that loan forgiveness is likely to happen. “And if it happens it’s likely to be limited in amount and eligibility,” he says.

Biden has already ruled out canceling $50,000 worth of debt, but $10,000 of forgiveness is still on the table.

Meanwhile, the issue continues to shine light on the rising costs of going to college.

College tuition and fees were about 170% more expensive in 2021 than in 2001, Tejersen cites in a new book on reducing higher education bureaucracy.

“The silver lining in the student debt fiasco,” she says, “is that more Americans recognize the need to identify affordable college options.”


The latest edition of the games will see more than 4,000 athletes from at least 55 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation competing for 355 medals.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has officially opened the fifth edition of the Islamic Solidarity Games in the central Anatolian city of Konya, Türkiye.

Erdogan declared the games open on Tuesday at a dazzling opening ceremony, which was also attended by Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev along with dignitaries from several nations.

The sporting event, which will be held from August 9-18, was originally planned to be held in 2021. 

It was postponed to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

More than 4,000 athletes from at least 55 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will compete in 24 sports, ranging from archery to basketball and judo to swimming for 355 medals. 

The Islamic Solidarity Games is an event held by the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF).

The games aim to "support the development of the athletes of the Islamic geography and to increase the culture of brotherhood and solidarity among the athletes," according to the event website. 

Non-Muslim citizens in member states are also able to participate in the games.

The first Islamic Islamic Solidarity Games were held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 2005. The fourth edition was held in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2017. 

Source: TRT World

An Australian and a Canadian mountain climber died last week in northern Pakistan while attempting to scale K2, the world’s second-highest mountain. 

The death of Matthew Eakin was announced on Thursday by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which expressed its “condolences to his family and friends.” His body was found through drone video.

A Pakistani mountaineering official and the Canadian Press said the body of Richard Cartier, who went missing in a separate incident on the same mountain on July 19, had finally also been spotted by a search team on K2.

Cartier was 60 and an experienced climber.

The Dawn, one of Pakistan's English-language newspapers, reported earlier this week that the two climbers had been spotted between Camp 1 and Camp 2 on K2 after they both went missing on July 19 in separate incidents.

Deadly record

Eakin’s devastated friends posted tributes on social media to honour him, saying his death was a huge loss to the mountaineering community.

Karrar Haidri, the deputy chief of the Pakistan Alpine Club, which coordinates search and rescue missions with Pakistan's government and military, confirmed the deaths of Eakin and Cartier.

“We extend our condolences to the friends and family members of the Australian and Canadian climbers who died on K2,” Haidri said.

Also last week, a third climber, Ali Akbar Sakki from Afghanistan, suffered a heart attack and died while trying to scale K2, Haidri said.

K2, on the Chinese-Pakistani border in the Karakorum Range, has one of the deadliest records, with most climbers dying on the descent, where the slightest mistake can trigger an avalanche and become fatal. 

K2 is also among the coldest and windiest of climbs. At places along the route, climbers must navigate nearly sheer rock faces rising 80 degrees, while avoiding frequent and unpredictable avalanches.

Until this year, it had been scaled just 425 times, whereas Everest – the world's highest – had been conquered by more than 6,000 people since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first reached the top in 1953.

Source: agencies

Muhammad Ali's championship belt from his 1974 "Rumble in the Jungle" heavyweight title fight has been sold at an auction for $6.18 million.

The winner of the heated competition for the belt on Sunday was Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, according to Heritage Auctions in Dallas.

In a tweet, Irsay confirmed he acquired the belt for his collection of rock music, American history and pop culture memorabilia that is currently touring the country.

Memorable title-belt

The belt will be displayed on August 2 at Chicago's Navy Pier and on September 9 in Indianapolis.

"Proud to be the steward!" Irsay tweeted.

"After several hours of watching two bidders go back and forth over this belt, this proved to be a battle worthy of the Rumble itself," Chris Ivy, Heritage's director of sports auctions, said in a statement.

The 1974 fight was one of boxing's most memorable moments. 

Ali stopped the fearsome George Foreman to recapture the heavyweight title in the African nation of Zaire. Ali won the fight in a knockout in the eighth round.

Source: AP

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