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Sorry Biebs
Sorry Biebs

TEHRAN — Iran has had enough of Justin Bieber and the Great Satan corporate powers turning out such sinful teenage beats. The Islamic Republic has a plan to purge itself of the Western pop music scourge, by developing a national music awards program that will encourage local talent and hopefully restore home-grown Iranian song to its proper place.

The organizer of the first Grand Prize for Revolutionary Music, Mohsen Tehrani, told ISNA news agency this week that the program's goal is to foster collaboration between songwriters and musicians and promote musical excellence. It is also looks to "vaccinate" youngsters against the West's pop culture intrusions, which threaten "fundamentalist and family-oriented" societies like Iran's, he said.

Tehrani criticized large Western corporations for using children "aged 6 to 12" to determine the future of mass music, even in places like Iran. "The result of this process is people like Justin Bieber," he said, referring to the Canadian-born singer loved by so many yet sometimes ridiculed for his adolescent antics. The fact that some young Iranians like Bieber is a cultural "alarm bell," Tehrani said.

The organizer believes that Iranian music needs "analysis" and competition, and laments that state patronage of "worthy" songs has not produced music with a popular following. The music awards program, said Tehrani, would seek out young talent and celebrate music composed since the 1979 revolution, which put an immediate stop to Western and Western-style pop music in Iran.

Moreover, Tehrani said the competition will not be open to any music produced by expatriate Iranians, especially in California, which became a home of choice for singers who fled post-revolutionary Iran.

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Green

Fading Flavor: Production Of Saffron Declines Sharply

Saffron is well-known for its flavor and its expense. But in Kashmir, one of the flew places it grows, cultivation has fallen dramatically thanks for climate change, industry, and farming methods.

Photo of women harvesting saffron in Kashmir

Harvesting of Saffron in Kashmir

Mubashir Naik

In northern India along the bustling Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Pampore — known as the saffron town of Kashmir —people are busy picking up saffron flowers to fill their wicker baskets.

During the autumn season, this is a common sight in the Valley as saffron harvesting is celebrated like a festival in Kashmir. The crop is harvested once a year from October 21 to mid-November.

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