22 Feb 2013
Current Affair In Pakistan: Lady Gaga postpones shows: Pop star Lady Gaga said on Tuesday she was suffering from a severe inflammation of the joints that left her temporarily unable to walk, ...
Pop star Lady Gaga said on Tuesday she was suffering from a severe inflammation of the joints that left her temporarily unable to walk, forcing her to postpone a handful of upcoming shows on the North American leg of her world tour.
"I am completely devastated and heartsick. I've been hiding this injury and pain from my staff for a month, praying it would heal, but after last night's performance, I could not walk," the singer said in a statement.
Her condition is called synovitis, an inflammation that sometimes follows a sprain, strain or injury.
Gaga posted a similar message in a series of tweets to her 34 million Twitter followers.
"I will hopefully heal as soon as possible and be at 500 percent again, which is what you deserve," she said.
The singer postponed shows in Chicago on Wednesday and Thursday, in Detroit on Saturday and in Hamilton, Ontario, on Sunday.
Lady Gaga, 26, has been on the road for two years on her "Born This Way Ball" world tour. Her website showed tour dates through March 20.
The 200-plus date tour has taken the singer across six continents and was ranked as the sixth top-grossing tour of 2012 by Billboard magazine.
Current Affair In Pakistan: Afghan teens of Buzkashi Boys stargazing in Hollyw...: The teenage stars of an Oscar-nominated short film from Afghanistan arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday for the Academy Awards after an ...
The teenage stars of an Oscar-nominated short film from Afghanistan arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday for the Academy Awards after an Internet campaign raised enough money to pay for their trip.
"Buzkashi Boys" actors Fawad Mohammadi and Jawanmard Paiz will walk the red carpet and rub shoulders with Hollywood's biggest stars at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday night.
The film focuses on two children growing up in Kabul who dream of becoming Buzkashi riders, horsemen who compete in the dangerous Afghan national sport similar to polo in which riders try to carry a headless goat across a goal line.
The film garnered U.S. director Sam French an Oscar nomination for Best Live Action Short Film.
Its producers launched the campaign because, they said, they lacked a travel budget for the 14-year-old actors.
"I'm so happy and excited," Mohammadi told Reuters at Los Angeles International Airport after flying more than 18 hours from the Afghan capital. "I can't say my feelings."
Some 237 people donated money to the travel fund, which raised $11,751 (7,723 pounds), eclipsing its $10,000 goal, fundraising website Rally.org said. Donations were received from 13 countries, including the United States, Afghanistan, India and Germany.
Turkish Airlines donated the tickets for Mohammadi, Paiz and a chaperone.
Mohammadi, an amateur actor with piercing green eyes, gained international attention following the film's release last year for his personal story as a fatherless youth who grew up selling maps of Kabul to tourists in its Chicken Street market.
Both teens said they wanted to see all the actors during their week in Hollywood in which they also plan to visit amusement parks Disneyland and Universal Studios.
Speaking of famous actors, Mohammadi said: "I can't say 'This one' or 'That one,' (but) I want to see Rambo, Sylvester Stallone."
One of the boys in the film is a street kid like Mohammadi, the other the son of a blacksmith forced to spend long hours in his father's dark workshop sharpening axe heads.
French said the goal is to make the week-long trip culturally relevant for the teens.
"Just the fact that we're talking about something other than the war, other than bombs and bullets, I think is a huge step forward," French said. "And hopefully we can show that these kids are like normal kids everywhere."
Mohammadi and Paiz will fly to Washington for screenings of the film on February 27 and begin their journey back to Kabul on March 1.
"Buzkashi Boys," which runs for just 28 minutes, is the first film to be produced by the Afghan Film Project, a non-profit group that aims to train filmmakers in Afghanistan.
Current Affair In Pakistan: Pakistani radio show uses mothers and mullahs to u...: Slowly, Ziarat Bibi recalled the last words she spoke to her son, her pain seeming to fill the dimly lit radio studio. "He was prepari...
Slowly, Ziarat Bibi recalled the last words she spoke to her son, her pain seeming to fill the dimly lit radio studio. "He was preparing for his exam. I told him to pick up his books," she said, as transmitters beamed her grief to listeners across northwest Pakistan.
A Taliban bomb killed her son before he took his exam. She has not been able to touch his books since. Bibi is one of many bereaved mothers sharing their stories on a Pashto-language radio show aimed at undercutting support for the Taliban in their heartlands along the rugged frontier between Pakistan and Afghanistan. State-run radio spent years issuing dry updates on the prime minister's schedule while the Taliban broadcast hit lists and fiery recruitment calls from dozens of FM stations, some hidden in the back of a donkey cart.
Alarmed at the success of hardline propaganda, veteran Pakistani journalist Imtiaz Gul decided to try something different: a mix of reports and live debates designed to get people thinking critically about militancy. One of his shows is called The Dawn and the other The Voice of Peace. They are an hour long and run back to back. New transmitters funded by the United States and Japan are about to start beaming them out across the mountains. Recent topics have covered how to respond if al Qaeda members show up on your doorstep, whether polio vaccination campaigns are run by the CIA and if suicide bombs killing Muslims are justified.
Pashtun tribal elders, mullahs, activists, and officials hold debates and listeners are invited to call in. A recent show on whether religious leaders were doing enough to promote peace got more than 80 calls. It wasn't always like that. When Gul first started the shows in 2009, people were too scared to talk. The army had just pushed back Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah, nicknamed Mullah Radio for his broadcasts, from the Swat Valley northwest of Islamabad, after he had advanced to within 100 km (60 miles) of the capital. Fazlullah used his FM radio to issue calls for holy war, to denounce polio vaccination as a Western plot and to threaten those who dared stand up to him. "Everyone would want to listen to the militants' broadcasts to make sure his or her name was not on the hit list," the United Nations noted in a report. But Gul thought the radio could provide a unique opportunity for people living in the shadow of daily violence to tackle subjects ordinarily taboo.
He started off providing information about flood relief and gradually expanded the shows to include stories like Bibi's. Gul wants more than sympathy. He wants his Pashtun listeners to start thinking critically about their beliefs and traditions after years of being bombarded with pro-Taliban propaganda. "The wave of terrorism forced people into silence," said Gul. "In this society you are not encouraged to ask questions." When he recently ran a programme about the ancient Pashtun tradition of giving refuge, the studio's ancient, beige telephone lit up. Hundreds of foreign fighters claimed refuge with Pashtun tribesmen on the Pakistani side of the border when U.S. forces attacked al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan. Tradition demands a Pashtun protect whoever asks for refuge, known as "panah", with his life.
Presenters asked listeners what they would to if a stranger showed up. Every caller proudly defended the Pashtun tradition. But some also suggested criminals or traitors should be denied refuge or that tribal elders should decide difficult cases. In the studio, where a dim bulb shines on old decorations drooping on the walls, presenter Ali Asghar pushed listeners further. He sometimes puts on a yokel's accent as his character "Cousin Ali" to talk comically about sensitive topics. "What shall we do if a foreigner is involved?" he asked. "What if the government of Pakistan is against that foreigner?" The phone rang. "We should not give panah to a thief, a traitor or someone who has negative designs against us," said the caller.
It's not just militants who are challenged. State broadcaster Radio Pakistan carries Gul's shows but that doesn't save officials from an occasional public pasting. During an August show, angry callers berated a senior policeman in the studio for corruption and complained police were discriminating against Pashtuns. "Were those real callers?" the police, Asif Iqbal, asked before ducking out as the show finished.
In other shows, callers criticised officials over paltry payments for people wounded or bereaved by bombs. "The blood of a Pashtun is really cheap and no one cares about us," a man wounded by a bomb told an official. Producers say the voice of a bereaved mother or wounded civilian is more effective than just denouncing the bombings. They're planning a regular "Victims' Voices" segment to highlight the violence.
It's hard to accurately measure the impact of Gul's radio shows. Radio Pakistan's antiquated transmitters only reach parts of the border areas. Some of its towers date back to 1948. One was blown up. But by the end of this year, the United States and Japan will have erected three powerful new transmitters that will double Radio Pakistan's range. For the first time, it will cover the entire country, even al Qaeda strongholds like North Waziristan on the Afghan border.
In a Reuters survey of 20 people in Peshawar, the traffic-choked provincial capital dominated by a massive brick fort, 17 people had not heard of the shows, two liked them and one thought they were propaganda. Listener Hazrat Rahman said the shows were a good antidote to the old Taliban programming. But the government wasn't solving the problems journalists highlighted, he said. His complaint cuts to the heart of Pakistan's problem. Citizens may dislike the Taliban, but the government won't win loyalty until it starts delivering services and security.
Current Affair In Pakistan: Pakistan says to protest to India over new Kashmir...: The Pakistani army said on Wednesday it will protest to India over the killing of a Pakistani soldier in Kashmir, the fifth fatality in ...