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Iranian Cleric v. Jewish Marlboro Man

TEHRAN One of this country's most prominent conservative clerics has chided Iranians for an array of modern "vices," including divorce and choosing to marry later, which he said could draw God's wrath on Iran. In his Friday sermon in the capital, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati also singled out Marlboro cigarettes that he said were imported by a Jewish-owned company.

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A cigarette vendor in Tehran — Photo: Kamshots

Jannati, secretary of the Guardian Council, which must approve all legislation and elections, declared in Tehran's weekly congregational prayers, "I am warning you our situation is not good and am concerned God will make us suffer."
Among the vices he enumerated were "usury, bribery, administrative corruption, the prevalence of divorce," Jaam-e Jam, the website of the state broadcaster reported.
The cleric declared that there was a 1979 revolution in Iran because the people "wanted the rule of justice, spirituality and God, and this system needs piety today." Is it right, he asked, for doctors "to ask for a little something under the table," a reference to accusations of bribery in the medical field.
The cleric, a firm ally of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is known for his prolific denunciations of many things inside and outside Iran. On Friday, he asked why Iran was importing Marlboro cigarettes. "A Jewish firm imports Marlboros, and they give people 12 million of these cigarettes," Jannati said. "That is not right."

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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