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Barber-turned-rapper Sayed Jamal Mubarez Crowned winner of ‘Afghan Star’ in Talent Show

Sayed Jamal Mubarez from Afghanistan's long-marginalized Hazara ethnic minority won viewers over with lyrics capturing both the hope and despair of youth

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Zulala Hashimi, 18, right, and Sayed Jamal Mubarez, 23, finalists of the music contest "Afghan Star," rehearse for the show in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 19, 2017, VOA
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Kabul, March 22, 2017:  A barber-turned-rapper has been crowned the winner of an Afghan talent show that offered its audience some relief from daily stories of insurgents and suicide bombs.

Sayed Jamal Mubarez, from Afghanistan’s long-marginalized Hazara ethnic minority, won viewers over with lyrics capturing both the hope and despair of young people living through a war against Taliban militants now in its sixteenth year.

Afghan Star, modeled on singing contests popular across the world, is in its 12th season on Afghanistan’s biggest private television network, Tolo.

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This year’s edition stood out after a woman — 18-year old singer Zulala Hashimi from the deeply conservative east of the country — reached the final for the first time, defying widespread attitudes against female performers.

But Mubarez emerged the winner later on Tuesday, looking every bit the budding rapper with his tilted red baseball cap and razor-trimmed beard.

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“I am so happy. … I would have been happy if Zulala had won it because in Afghanistan women are living in a restricted situation,” the 23-year old said after accepting his award at a television studio housed behind wire-topped blast walls in Kabul’s diplomatic enclave.

The sole breadwinner at his home in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, Mubarez said he discovered rap in Iran and spits lyrics while cutting hair.

The contest has been held inside a fortified compound for the last two series after the Taliban last year killed seven Tolo employees in a suicide attack on a staff minibus.

Newer musicians can struggle to make it big in Afghanistan, where the Taliban once banned music and many disapprove of Western-style popular culture, and artists often seek the safety and freedom of a life abroad.

Mubarez told Reuters he intends to turn professional if he can find financial support, and would otherwise return to his barber shop while rapping on the side. (VOA)

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Iran President Gearing Up For His India Visit To Discuss Trade And Policies

The visit will be used to discuss trade and policies between the two countries

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will discuss trade policies and other issues during this visit of his. http://www.telegraph.co.uk
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will discuss trade policies and other issues during this visit of his. http://www.telegraph.co.uk
  • Iran president Hassan Rouhanito come on a three-day visit to India
  • The visit will be used to discuss trade and policies between the two countries
  • Business traders of both the countries will do a meeting soon too

Iran President Hassan Rouhani will come on a three-day visit to India starting Thursday at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the External Affairs Ministry announced on Wednesday.

Modi and Rouhani will hold a bilateral meeting here on Saturday, during the course of which both sides would review the progress achieved in bilateral relations and also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, according to a ministry statement.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to visit India soon. Photo Credit: observer.com
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to visit India soon. Photo Credit: observer.com

Rouhani will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday.

According to Iranian news agency Irna, Rouhani will first arrive in Hyderabad on Thursday where he will meet the city’s Muslim Ulemas. He will also meet Iranian nationals, including students, residing in India.

Citing the Iran President’s deputy chief of staff for communications and information Parviz Esmaeili, Irna said following the delegation-level talks on Saturday, both sides will sign a number of agreements.

Also Read: Iran Accuses CIA for spreading ‘Fake News’ about Tehran’s support to Al Qaeda

Business leaders of both sectors are also scheduled to hold a joint meeting to review cooperation opportunities and capacities, according to Esmaeili.

This will be Rouhani’s first visit to India after he assumed office in 2013.

It comes after Modi’s visit to Tehran in 2016 during which a trilateral agreement on transit and transport was signed between India, Iran and Afghanistan.

The first phase of the port was inaugurated by President Rouhani in December last year, a little over a month after the first consignment of wheat from India to Afghanistan was sent via this facility.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has already talked to the Indian
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has already talked to the Indian
President Ram Nath Kovind. Wikimedia Commons

The port opens a new strategic transit route between Iran, India, Afghanistan and other Central Asian nations bypassing Pakistan.

India-Iran bilateral trade stood at $12.89 billion in 2016-17, according to figures provided by the External Affairs Ministry. IANS