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In Plaza de Armas.

Child victim of terror attack on Military Parade

Source CNN : 25 killed in attack on Iranian military parade

Stairway to Heaven

San Blas neighborhood. 

Shahrzad Rafati to Represent Canada on G20 Business Women Leaders Task Force

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Shahrzad Rafati as Canada’s representative on the Business Women Leaders (BWL) task force, with representatives selected by participating governments from G20 countries to drive actionable, measurable, and results-driven solutions to impact women’s economic empowerment.

“I am incredibly honoured to represent Canada on the G20 Business Women Leaders task force”

This announcement follows the 2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg, where conversations about empowering women in business and advancing gender equality were core topics of discussion. The objectives of the BWL task force are to bring together business women from G20 countries, examine ways to increase women’s participation in the economy and make recommendations for next year’s summit on the implementation of global commitments regarding the female financial health and empowerment.

“Shahrzad Rafati is an outstanding choice to be Canada’s G20 Business Women Leaders’ task force representative. She’s a proven leader, with a remarkable success story, whose vision has revolutionized an entire industry. I know she will bring the same energy and drive to her new role, to tackle the challenge of equality in the workforce and create more opportunities for women to work, lead, and succeed,” said Trudeau.

Rafati has created an executive committee of leaders from the private, public and non-profit sectors in North America who will advise on specific issues related to advancing women’s leadership in business.

“I am incredibly honoured to represent Canada on the G20 Business Women Leaders task force” said Rafati. “Gender equality and female economic empowerment are essential to the success of global economies and industries across all sectors. In Canada, we have come a long way, but there is still much work to be done to ensure women have access to equal pay, quality employment, social services and education, financial parity and economic opportunity.”

According to 2017 data from Statistics Canada, women make 87 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make, which shows the country still has a long way to go to address equality. Women are also less likely to be employed, more likely to work part time and there is a greater likelihood for women to work in fields traditionally thought of as “female” professions such as nursing, teaching, administration and service, according to the Statistics Canada report.

Since founding Vancouver-based BroadbandTV (BBTV) in 2005 and growing the company to become the third largest video property in the world after only Google and Facebook with 33 billion monthly views, Rafati has been a shining example of a leader who has made pay equity and gender diversity key priorities. As a passionate advocate for equality, she has shared best practices and recommendations with other business leaders to encourage them to adopt equal pay for equal work policies.

“I am proud to say at BBTV we have eliminated the disparity in pay across our male and female employees and 43 per cent of our employees are women. Equal pay for equal work isn’t just the right thing to do, the benefits of operating a gender balanced environment run deep to benefit our bottom line. We still have work to do, but we care deeply and we’re committed to continuous improvement,” Rafati noted.

The BWL will work in close collaboration with the engagement groups Women20 and Business20 to make recommendations ahead of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. For more information, visit g20.org.

Yasmine Taeb to challenge Va. Senate Democratic leader

 

Richmond Times Dispatch: Yasmine Taeb, a Northern Virginia human rights lawyer and a member of the Democratic National Committee, announced Thursday that she’s launching a primary challenge to the most powerful Democrat in the Virginia Senate.

Her challenge to Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw of Fairfax County, who represents the 35th state Senate District, pits an activist from the progressive wing of the party against a lawmaker who has served in the legislature since 1976 and is close with some of the state’s most influential lobbies.

The primary will be in June. The strongly Democratic district includes parts of Fairfax County, Falls Church and Alexandria.

In a video making her announcement, Taeb said she was 6 when her family fled Iran, crossing the southern U.S. border without documentation. She grew up in Florida and graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 17 people were killed in a shooting in February. One of them was coach Aaron Feis, a former classmate of Taeb’s.

Taeb, a Muslim, said President Donald Trump’s call for a “complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S. prompted her to run for the Democratic National Committee.

“Some elected officials are more interested in siding with powerful corporations than the people they represent,” she said in the video. “The old Virginia Way of pay-to-play politics is failing countless working families. We must give voice to the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Saslaw, who has held the Senate seat since 1980, could not be reached for comment.

Flying Colors

Embroidery on photograth. Tonight at Andrea Flores Olivera's art show. 

Cloud Surfing

Outside my window.

Iranian singer's 'sickening' anti-Islam post embarrasses hard-liners

Al-Monitor: Furious reactions are pouring in after Iranian singer Amir Hossein Maghsoudlou, known as Amir Tataloo, posted graphically-worded lines against Shiite Islam and its followers on Instagram, where he is followed by over four million people. The post seems to be a response to a video that shows the apparent burning of 72 doves at a Shiite passion play on the occasion of the Islamic holy month of Muharram. Social media users initially speculated that the doves were intentionally burned alive to symbolize the 72 companions of the third Shiite imam, said to have been killed alongside Hussein ibn Ali by the forces of the caliph in 680. But Animal Rights Watch later stated that the clip was four years old and that the doves were supposed to have been evacuated from tents that were set on fire as part of the passion play, but that the person responsible for doing so had neglected his duties.

The Instagram post has become a tremendous embarrassment for the country's hard-liners, who have supported the controversial singer over the past two years to appeal to younger Iranians despite his apparently unreligious behavior and lifestyle.

Tataloo made headlines in May 2017 in the run-up to the country's presidential elections that month for endorsing Ebrahim Raisi, the candidate of the powerful conservative camp and the main challenger to incumbent President Hassan Rouhani. A short video released by the Raisi campaign showed the cleric sitting with the singer and chatting with him. The scene sparked a backlash of anger among the Reformists, who accused Raisi of using any means possible to win votes and argued that Tataloo's record is not in line with the religious slogans the conservative camp was propagating.

Now, amid the ongoing everyday rivalry and verbal exchanges between the two political camps, the Reformists are touting the Tataloo affair as an I-told-you-so moment against the conservatives.

Pro-Reform news outlet Entekhab attacked the hard-liners for "emboldening" Tataloo and asked how they could justify their previous support of the singer after the "sickening" post. It further criticized "those who allowed him to sing aboard an Iranian military warship," referring to a patriotic music video featuring Tataloo.

‏A picture showing Tataloo receiving an award at a ceremony organized by the conservative Fars News Agency is also circulating on Iranian social media. The man presenting the prize is hard-line former parliamentarian Hamid Rasaee. "That event was meant for those active in cyberspace but attacked for their defense of the revolution. And Mr. Tataloo was one of them," Rasaee said at the time.

But now, after Tataloo's Instagram post, Rasaee has spoken up against him. "Tataloo is a heretic and although he is not in Iran now, I can assure you that he won't live in comfort anymore," he tweeted, implying that he will face death threats. He compared the singer's case to that of writer Salman Rushdie, "who has not been able to live a life for years." Rushdie's "Satanic Verses" was seen as blasphemous by the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued a fatwa for his killing.

The incessant flow of comments below the singer's Instagram post seems to have forced him to remove it at last. But the deletion has not contained the flames of anger. "Tataloo is a heretic" and "A heretic's verdict is the death penalty" in Persian are now trending on Twitter.

The Iranian judiciary has yet to react to Tataloo's post and it remains to be seen whether he will be charged with heresy, which could lead to a death sentence. For now, what is certain is that he has placed Iran's hard-liners between a rock and a hard place.

Alive and Talking

San Pedro Market, Cusco.

World Stage

Boys dance group getting ready to perform at the Inca rites of passage ceremony called Warachkuy held at the Saqsayhuman ruins above Cusco last Sunday. See my video clips (1) (2) (3) (4)

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