Category Archives: Искусство

новости искусства

Monkeys in Central Thailand City Mark Their Day With Feast 

A meal fit for monkeys was served on Sunday at the annual Monkey Feast Festival in central Thailand.  

Amid the morning traffic, rows of monkey statues holding trays were lined up outside the compound of the Ancient Three Pagodas, while volunteers prepared food across the road for real monkeys — the symbol of the province around 150 kilometers north of Bangkok. 

Throngs of macaque monkeys ran around, at times fighting with each other, while the crowds of visitors and locals grew.  

As the carefully prepared feast was brought toward the temple, the ravenous creatures began to pounce and were soon devouring the largely vegetarian spread. 

While the entertainment value of the festival is high, organizers are quick to point out that it is not just monkey business. 

“This monkey feast festival is a successful event that helps promote Lopburi’s tourism among international tourists every year,” said Yongyuth Kitwatanusont, the festival’s founder. 

“Previously, there were around 300 monkeys in Lopburi before increasing to nearly 4,000 nowadays. But Lopburi is known as a monkey city, which means monkeys and people can live in harmony.” 

Such harmony could be seen in the lack of shyness exhibited by the monkeys, which climbed on to visitors, vehicles and lampposts. At times the curious animals looked beyond the abundant feast and took an interest in other items.  

“There was a monkey on my back as I was trying to take a selfie. He grabbed the sunglasses right off my face and ran off on to the top of a lamppost and was trying to eat them for a while,” said Ayisha Bhatt, an English teacher from California working in Thailand. 

The delighted onlookers were largely undeterred by the risk of petty theft, although some were content to exercise caution. 

“We have to take care with them, better leave them to it. Not too near is better,” said Carlos Rodway, a tourist from Cadiz, Spain, having previously been unceremoniously treated as a climbing frame by one audacious monkey.

The festival is an annual tradition in Lopburi and held as a way to show gratitude to the monkeys for bringing in tourism. This year’s theme is “monkeys feeding monkeys,” an antidote to previous years where monkey participation had decreased due to high numbers of tourists, which intimidated the animals. 

Lewandowski Scores at World Cup, Poland Beats Saudis 2-0

Robert Lewandowski at last scored a goal in a World Cup match Saturday, helping Poland beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 and boosting his team’s chances of reaching the knockout stages.

Lewandowski shed tears after scoring in the 82nd minute. He raced toward the corner with his arms outstretched, then slumped on the field as teammates rushed to congratulate him. He got up, rubbed his face, and blew a kiss to the crowd.

“Today everything I had inside, the dreams, the importance of the occasion, all those dreams from my childhood came through,” Lewandowski said. “It was so significant.”

One of the best forwards in the world, Lewandowski’s barren streak at the World Cup was somewhat puzzling. Now, in his fifth match at the tournament, it’s over.

Against Saudi Arabia, Lewandowski also set up the opener in the 40th minute when he kept the ball in play after goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais’ initial block, then laid it back for Piotr Zielinski to knock in.

Poland was scrambling for long periods at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, as enthusiastic fans pushed the Saudi team forward in what seemed like a home game. The frustration was clear on Lewandowski’s face as Poland’s yellow cards mounted.

Saudi Arabia had a chance to equalize at the end of the first half, but Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved Salem Al-Dawsari’s penalty kick. He then blocked Mohammed Al-Burayk’s shot from the rebound.

Szczesny was also called upon in the second half, when Saudi Arabia created several good chances.

“There is some part during the game, you must be more efficient,” Saudi Arabia coach Hervé Renard said.

Renard’s team had 16 attempts at goal, twice as many as Poland.

“Like I said before, we are still alive,” the French coach said. “This is the most important.”

Poland will next face Argentina, while Saudi Arabia will meet Mexico in their last Group C games.

Australia 1, Tunisia 0

Mitchell Duke celebrated scoring Australia’s winning goal by forming a “J” with his fingers in a tribute to his son Jaxson, who was in the stands.

Coach Graham Arnold dragged injured winger Martin Boyle — on crutches — into the celebratory huddle as fans sang merrily along to Men at Work’s “Down Under,” blaring over the stadium speakers after the final whistle, in Al Wakrah, Qatar.

Later, Arnold wiped away tears.

It was an emotion-filled day for Australia, which beat Tunisia 1-0 Saturday for only its third win in 18 World Cup matches.

Duke gave Australia the lead midway through the first half with a header.

“I actually was messaging some of my family, saying that I was going to score today, and I told my son that I was going to be able to share this moment with him and get that celebration,” Duke said. “I haven’t seen it yet but apparently he did it back to me from the stadium, which was a really special moment that I’m going to treasure for the rest of my life.”

Australia hadn’t won at the World Cup since beating Serbia in 2010 and it means the Socceroos still have a chance to qualify for the round of 16, despite losing to defending champion France 4-1 in their opening match.  

In the final round of group games on Wednesday, Tunisia will play France and Australia will meet Denmark. 

‘Fame’ and ‘Flashdance’ Singer-Actor Irene Cara Dies at 63

Oscar, Golden Globe and two-time Grammy winning singer-actress Irene Cara, who starred and sang the title cut from the 1980 hit movie “Fame” and then belted out the era-defining hit “Flashdance … What a Feeling” from 1983’s “Flashdance,” has died. She was 63.

Her publicist, Judith A. Moose, announced the news on social media, writing that a cause of death was “currently unknown.” Moose also confirmed the death to a reporter for The Associated Press Saturday. Cara died at her home in Florida. The exact day of her death was not disclosed.

“Irene’s family has requested privacy as they process their grief,” Moose wrote. “She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films.”

During her career, Cara had three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Breakdance,” “Out Here On My Own,” “Fame” and “Flashdance … What A Feeling,” which spent six weeks at No. 1. She was behind some of the most joyful, high-energy pop anthems of the early ’80s.

Tributes poured in Saturday on social media, including from Deborah Cox, who called Cara an inspiration, and Holly Robinson Peete, who recalled seeing Cara perform: “The insane combination of talent and beauty was overwhelming to me. This hurts my heart so much.”

Movie fame started with the movie ‘Fame’

Cara first came to prominence among the young actors playing performing arts high schoolers in Alan Parker’s “Fame,” with co-stars Debbie Allen, Paul McCrane and Anne Mear. Cara played Coco Hernandez, a striving dancer who endures all manner of deprivations, including a creepy nude photo shoot.

“How bright our spirits go shooting out into space, depends on how much we contributed to the earthly brilliance of this world. And I mean to be a major contributor!” she says in the movie.

Cara sang on the soaring title song with the chorus — “Remember my name/I’m gonna live forever/I’m gonna learn how to fly/I feel it coming together/People will see me and cry” — which would go on to be nominated for an Academy Award for best original song. She also sang on “Out Here on My Own,” “Hot Lunch Jam” and “I Sing the Body Electric.”

Three years later, she and the songwriting team of “Flashdance” — music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Keith Forsey and Cara — accepted the Oscar for best original song for “Flashdance … What a Feeling.”

The movie starred Jennifer Beals as a steel-town girl who dances in a bar at night and hopes to attend a prestigious dance conservatory. It included the hit song “Maniac,” featuring Beals’ character leaping, spinning, stomping her feet and the slow-burning theme song.

“There aren’t enough words to express my love and my gratitude,” Cara told the Oscar crowd in her thanks. “And last but not least, a very special gentlemen who I guess started it all for me many years ago. To Alan Parker, wherever you may be tonight, I thank him.”

Career started on Broadway

The New York-born Cara began her career on Broadway, with small parts in short-lived shows, although a musical called “The Me Nobody Knows” ran over 300 performances. She toured in the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” as Mary Magdalene in the mid-1990s and a tour of the musical “Flashdance” toured 2012-14 with her songs.

She also created the all-female band Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel and put out a double CD with the single “How Can I Make You Luv Me.” Her movie credits include “Sparkle” and “D.C. Cab.”

Hong Kong Emigres Seek Milk Tea in Craving for Taste of Home

In London, Wong Wai-yi misses the taste of home.

A year ago, the 31-year-old musician was in Hong Kong, earning a good living composing for TV and movies and teaching piano. Today, she makes about half as much money in London working part-time as a server alongside her musical pursuits. She chose the job in part because staff meals allow her to save money on food.

It’s a difficult adjustment. And Wong, who left Hong Kong with her boyfriend in January, has turned to a beloved hometown staple to keep her grounded: milk tea. She brings the beverage to parties with Hong Kong friends and gives bottles to co-workers as gifts.

“It’s like reminding myself I am a Hong Konger. It will be fine as long as we are willing to endure the hardships and work hard,” said Wong, who left as part of an exodus that began after Beijing passed a law in 2020 that curtailed civil liberties.

As tens of thousands leave Hong Kong for new lives abroad, many are craving a flavor from childhood that’s become a symbol of the city’s culture: the sweet, heavy tea with evaporated milk that’s served both hot and cold at diner-like restaurants called cha chaan tengs. Workshops are popping up to teach professionals to brew tea like short-order cooks, and milk tea businesses are expanding beyond Chinatowns in Britain.

In Hong Kong, milk tea is an unassuming beverage, something you use to wash down sweet French toast off a plastic plate. It’s so beloved that members of Hong Kong’s protest movement have called themselves part of a “Milk Tea Alliance” with activists from Taiwan, Thailand and Myanmar who drink similar beverages.

Following a law that silenced or jailed most political opposition, more than 133,000 residents have secured a special visa that allows them to live and work in the U.K. and apply for British citizenship after six years. Official figures have not been released on how many of those have left, but most recipients are expected to do so.

The pathway was introduced last year in response to China’s 2020 enactment of the National Security Law, which the U.K. called “a clear breach” of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. The declaration included a promise to retain the former British colony’s rights and freedoms for 50 years after it was returned to China’s rule in 1997.

Exiled activist Lee Ka-wai said that immersing himself at a Hong Kong-style cafe in London with a cup of milk tea was a “luxury.”

The 26-year-old fled Hong Kong in March last year out of fear of being arrested. He is wanted by the city’s anti-graft body for allegedly inciting others to boycott the legislative election in December 2021. As an asylum seeker in Britain, he is not allowed to work and is living on savings.

Even if the taste is right, he said, the feel of a cha chaan teng and the sounds of customers chatting in Cantonese cannot be replicated.

“It’s strange because I can feel a sense of home overseas. But it also has another meaning — there’s something that cannot be replaced,” he said. “What we long for most is to go home and see a better Hong Kong. But we can’t.”

Some emigrants, like Eric Tam, a 41-year-old manager at an insurance company, enroll in milk tea lessons before leaving Hong Kong. Visiting Hong Kong this month, he stocked up on a milk tea blend, a recipe that evolved from British teas in the colonial era.

While tea is easy to find in England, he said, the taste isn’t the same: “British milk tea is just watery milk,” Tam said.

Before moving to Liverpool with his wife and two younger daughters in June, Tam signed up for lessons at the Institution of Hong Kong Milk Tea. The 2-year-old organization teaches students skills like pouring tea back and forth between a kettle and a plastic container to enhance its flavor before mixing it with evaporated milk.

Yan Chan, the school’s founder, estimated that about 40% of the 2,000 people who have studied with her were planning to emigrate.

Milk tea only began to emerge as a symbol of the Hong Kong identity over the past 15 years, said Veronica Mak, associate professor at the sociology department of Hong Kong Shue Yan University.

Mak said that many young people began to think about Hong Kong identity after the government removed Queen’s Pier, a landmark from the city’s colonial past, in 2007. Childhood memories, marketing and a fashion for localism came together to make milk tea a totem of Hong Kong culture.

“When you ask young people what kind of milk tea they like to drink, they will tell you it’s the bubble milk tea,” she said, referring to a drink from Taiwan. “But when you come to the identity part … they will not say the bubble tea but the local style milk tea.”

Most milk tea lovers interviewed told the Associated Press that milk tea isn’t political. But Tam said it’s a form of silent resistance.

“We can choose to preserve the culture that we want to keep. It cannot be destroyed even if other people try,” he said.

Contemporary Asian tea culture is catching on globally. Outside Chinatowns, at least five Hong Kong-style milk tea brands have emerged over the past two years in Britain. One set up a pop-up cafe in the trendy London neighborhood of Shoreditch in September, attracting Londoners and tourists as well as Hong Kong emigres.

Eric Wong, a tea wholesaler, began selling bottled milk tea in 2021 after moving to the U.K., and offers milk tea workshops. He said he’s making 500 to 1,000 bottles of milk tea a week, and his south London business broke even after about six months. His Trini Hong Kong Style Milk Tea products are available online and at major Asian supermarkets.

The taste of home can provoke strong emotions. A young woman from Hong Kong once shed tears after tasting his tea, Wong said.

Between people planning to leave and growing interest in local culture, Chan is busy. On Nov. 3, nine people attended her class, none of whom had plans to emigrate.

Cooking enthusiast Dennis Cheng took a class with her in late September and practiced the signature pouring while preparing to leave Hong Kong with his wife and children.

He said the taste will help remind him of Hong Kong and friends back home.

“This may help me feel emigrating overseas isn’t really that sad,” he said. “It’s just that I need more time to adapt to it.”

World Cup’s Most Valuable Teams: Which Squads Are Worth Most?

England, which is gunning for its second World Cup title, has the most valuable squad in Qatar with Jude Bellingham topping a list of over 800 players, a study has found. Here is a look at how the other major sides compare at the tournament:

Transfer value

According to a study conducted by Swiss research group CIES Football Observatory, England’s 26-man squad is worth just under $1.54 billion in transfer value, with 19-year-old Bellingham valued at $210 million.

The Borussia Dortmund player enhanced his reputation as one of the world’s top young players with a superb goal in England’s 6-2 victory over Iran in its tournament opener.

Brazil is second on the list with a transfer value of $1.5 billion. Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior was Brazil’s most valuable player at $208 million.

France was third with an estimated transfer value of $1.4 billion for its squad. Paris St. Germain forward Kylian Mbappe was the top French player with a value of $192.6 million.

The top three were followed by Spain ($1.25 billion), Portugal ($1.2 billion) and Germany ($1.06 billion).

The statistical technique used in the study to build the model was multiple linear regression, with fees paid by clubs as an independent variable.

The sample comprises more than 2,000 transactions of players transferred from clubs in the five major European leagues from July 2012 to November 2021.

The overall value of all the squads at the World Cup was put at $15.6 billion.

Insurable value

According to analysis by Lloyd’s of London — backed by the Centre for Economics and Business Research — teams were ranked based on the collective insurable value of their players.

England’s squad topped the list with an estimated insurable value of $3.74 billion.

They edged France ($3.2 billion) and Brazil ($3.1 billion) to claim top spot. Lloyd’s said the assessment of insurable value comprises a variety of metrics like wages, sponsorship, age and on-field positions.

Using this methodology to play out the tournament in full, Lloyd’s predicted that England — champions in 1966 — will finish top of Group B in Qatar and seal knockout wins over Senegal, France, Spain and Brazil.

Bellingham was rated the most insurable player, followed by Mbappe and Vinicius Junior.

 

High-Flying Balloon Characters Star in Thanksgiving Parade

Throngs of spectators lined the streets of New York on Thursday as colorful, high-flying balloons helped usher in the holiday season during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The annual tradition, which dates back nearly a century, packed streets as a procession of giant inflatables and floats streamed for more than 40 blocks from Central Park to Herald Square.

Children balanced atop metal barricades and hung from scaffolding to watch the balloons amid mostly sunny skies and a slight breeze.

“Blue, Blue. There’s Blue,” yelled Divyam Kumar, 6, as his father helped balance him and his 4-year-old brother Aanu Aryan on a metal rail.

The youngster was referring to the star of the animated show “Blue’s Clues” — not to be confused with the international cartoon sensation Bluey, an Australian cattle pup making her parade debut.

Bluey’s balloon towered as tall as a four-story building and stretched as wide as seven taxi cabs.

Stuart, the one-eyed Minion, was also there to thrill the crowd.

Snoopy, dressed as an astronaut, again made an appearance, as did Papa Smurf, Ronald McDonald and SpongeBob.

This year’s parade, by the numbers: 16 giant balloons, 28 floats, 40 novelty and heritage inflatables, 12 marching bands, 10 performance groups, 700 clowns and one Santa Claus.

The procession of characters were joined by singer Paula Abdul, in her first parade appearance; indie pop band Fitz and the Tantrums; boy band Big Time Rush; “Blue’s Clues & You!” host Josh Dela Cruz; singer Gloria Estefan; gospel singer Kirk Franklin; actor Mario Lopez; reggae star Ziggy Marley; and Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles.

Singers Joss Stone, Jordin Sparks and Betty Who were also part of the festivities, as well as the stars of “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin” — Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg. Jimmy Fallon & The Roots were on a float celebrating Central Park.

President Biden and Jill Biden called into the parade, as they did last year. Biden thanked firefighters, police officers and first responders, saying, “They never take a break.”

They thanked the troops and Biden said he would be reaching out to speak to some today.

Asked about their plans for the day in Nantucket, the Bidens said it would involve family, and some time spent locally, thanking first responders.

Saudi Arabia Shocks Argentina at World Cup

Saudi Arabia scored a major upset win Tuesday with a 2-1 victory over Argentina in their opening match at the men’s World Cup in Qatar.

Argentina entered the tournament as the third-ranked team in the world, with Saudi Arabia ranked number 51.

Lionel Messi put Argentina ahead in the tenth minute with a goal on a penalty kick, and Argentina looked to be in control of the game despite having multiple goals negated by offsides calls.

But Saudi Arabia mounted a quick comeback in the second half, evening the score with a 48th-minute goal by Saleh Alshehri.

A Salem Aldawsari goal five minutes later put Saudi Arabia ahead for good.

Saudi Arabia’s goalkeeper, Mohammed Alowais, helped secure the victory by stopping several solid chances in the closing minutes as Argentina tried to equalize.

Argentina will try to bounce back Saturday when it faces Mexico in another Group C matchup.  Saudi Arabia will play Poland.

Elton John Rockets Toward Retirement at LA’s Dodger Stadium

Forty seven years after he took the stage at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in a sequined-studded baseball uniform as the world’s biggest pop star, Elton John walked on to the same stage on Sunday night wearing a bedazzled Dodgers bathrobe, a uniform more fitting for a 75-year-old man on the verge of retirement.

The crowd of more than 50,000 roared at the moment that came in the final minutes of the final North American concert of a tour John says will be his last.

“I want to spend time with my family because I’ll be 76 next year, he said. “I want to bring them out and show you why I’m retiring.”

He embraced and kissed his husband, David Furnish, while his two sons, 11-year-old Zachary and 9-year-old Elijah, wearing matching Dodgers jackets that read “Elton” on the back, waved gleefully at the crowd.

John then broke into “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” the inevitable final song that gave the “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour its name.

The crowd full of rocket men and rocket women, of blue jean babies and LA ladies, many John’s age but plenty in their 20s and 30s and 40s, swayed and sang along as they had throughout the two-hour show during songs like “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer.” Some wiped away tears.

Many were wearing their own sequins and spangles, sparkling spectacles, top hats, feather boas, and in a few cases, Donald Duck suits, representing stages of John’s 55-year career.

“Thank you all for dressing up,” John said, “it makes me so happy when you wear the most fantastic costumes.”

When that last song ended, John shed the robe and exposed another retirement outfit, a green-and-red tracksuit, and climbed into a small, clear elevator that lifted him into an opening in the backdrop. He could then be seen on a giant video screen walking down a yellow brick road into the distance.

Many others joined John for the occasion.

Kiki Dee took the stage to sing their duet “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”

“In 1975, this woman was here with me, and we sang this song,” John said as he brought out Dee. “I asked her to come and recreate that incredible moment.”

John jumped from his usual keyboard spot, grabbed a mic and sang and danced with Dee as his rehearsal piano player Adam Chester pounded the keys in his place.

John played “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” in tribute to the four bandmates who have died during his career, and after the first verse brought on another guest, shouting, “ladies and gentleman, Brandi Carlile!”

The moment was an unspoken tribute to another late collaborator, George Michael, who dueted with John in the same way on the song in 1991.

Carlile, who was central to Joni Mitchell ‘s recent return to the stage, was wearing her own Dodger-themed spangled suit. She belted out her verses and made a “can you believe this?!” face to the crowd as John put his arm around her and the soaked in the applause.

A drum machine pounded as Dua Lipa, in a black dress that contrasted with the sparkles on everyone else, came out for the first of the encores, “Cold Heart,” her 2021 hit with John.

“I can’t tell you how it feels to be 75 years old and to have the No. 1 record around the world,” John said after. “And this was my very first hit, 52 years ago.”

He started playing piano chords and sang, “It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside,” the opening line to 1970’s “Your Song.”

“That was your song, Los Angeles!” he shouted after.

About two hours earlier, after taking the stage in a tuxedo with sequins that flared into a flame design and opening the concert with “Benny and the Jets,” he explained the significance of the city to his music.

“All right, this is a very special night for me, a very emotional night for me, and it’s been a long journey, and I first came here to America in 1970 to the City of Angels, Los Angeles, and I played a club called the Troubadour.”

The concert, which streamed live on Disney+, was the last of a three-night stand at the stadium (and his 103rd show in the LA area, he told the crowd). The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour began in September 2018 with the first of the 300-plus scheduled dates. It was suspended in 2020 because of the COVID pandemic and resumed in 2021.

In January, John heads to Australia and New Zealand, then moves on to Britain and Europe. He’s set to conclude in Sweden in July, though he’s made it clear he is only done traveling, not making music.

Many of those backing him up have been in his band from the start, or very near it, including Nigel Olsson, his drummer since 1969, and Davey Johnstone, his guitarist since 1971, who at age 71 stood at the front of the stage and led the band through a ripping version of “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.”

John also provided a rare on-stage glimpse of an even more long-running collaborator, the man who wrote most of the words the crowd sang along with all night, lyricist Bernie Taupin.

“We’ve been writing together now since 1967,” John said as he hugged Taupin, who could not have contrasted with his writing partner more with his bald head and plain, earth-toned coat. “We still love each other more than we’ve ever done before.”

Meet the Real Life ‘Woman King’

The Hollywood film “The Woman King” has received great praise for its portrayal of the fierce female warriors of Benin’s 1800s Kingdom of Dahomey. But where the kingdom once existed, the West African nation has a modern woman queen, who is still fighting for women’s rights. Henry Wilkins reports from Abomey, Benin. Camera: Henry Wilkins Produced by: Jon Spier

Meet Benin’s Real-Life ‘Woman King’

“The Woman King” is a rare example of an African story told in the form of a Hollywood historical epic. Around the world, it has won praise for its acting, directing, and themes of female empowerment with women, led by General Nanisca, fighting a war that men cannot.

While the film is set in the 1800s in the kingdom of Dahomey, today the same area is known as Abomey. The story of the female warriors and General Nanisca has echoed down the ages here and in the rest of Benin.

Nan Zognidi is the present-day queen mother of Abomey.

She said she teaches young people the same values as the female warriors, a mindset that shows young girls are equal to boys.

“They have the same abilities and the same competencies as boys,” she said.

Zognidi’s role of queen mother is ceremonial. As with royalty in other parts of the world, it involves attracting tourists to the kingdom. But before she took on the role, she was a women’s rights activist.

Now, she runs a program to teach girls trades that promote financial independence and the history and culture of the kingdom. She also encourages leadership among her courtiers.

Pkadomi Sylvestre, a 13-year-old courtier, said the queen mother has taught her how to work on political activities for women’s empowerment.

A statue depicting one of Abomey’s female warriors in Benin’s commercial capital, Cotonou, was inaugurated earlier this year.

The example set by the female warriors of Abomey is something Africa needs more of, according to U.N. Women, a branch of the United Nations dedicated to female empowerment.

“Women who are involved in politics are not usually positively seen by society,” said regional adviser Soulef Guessoum, noting that in Africa, only 25% of the elected assembly are women — short of the 30% target set by the U.N. in 1995 and well below the 50% that many consider the ultimate goal.

Marion Ogeto, a human rights lawyer who works with Equality Now, a non-profit working for female empowerment, said the female warriors of Abomey are inspiring.

“This community was way ahead of its time by advocating for an army that is all and only women,” said Ogeto. “That already just blows your mind and then it goes a step further and shows you that they have a woman leader, a woman king and then she’s in a position where she’s able to sit at the same table as the king as well as all the others and tell the king, ‘This is not how we handle the situation, we need to do X, Y and Z.'”

As for Zognidi, she thinks the most important lesson Abomey’s warriors must teach the world — not the least the world of politics — is that “everything that men can do, women can do today. We can’t say that women are weak, it is wrong.”

Women, she said, are as strong as men.

Bob Iger Returning to Disney as CEO for Two Years

Former Walt Disney Co Chief Executive Bob Iger is returning to the media company as CEO less than a year after he retired, a surprise appointment that comes as the entertainment company struggles to turn its streaming TV services into a profitable business.

Iger, who retired last year after 15 years as chief executive, has agreed to serve as CEO for two more years, Disney said in a statement late on Sunday. He will replace Bob Chapek, who took over as Disney CEO in February 2020.

While Chapek steered Disney through the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney disappointed investors this month with an earnings report that showed continued losses at its streaming media unit that includes Disney+.

“The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the Company through this pivotal period,” Susan Arnold, chair of Disney’s board, said in the statement.

In June, Disney’s board voted unanimously to extend Chapek’s contract for three years.

Through Chapek’s short tenure, Disney became engulfed in an internal culture war after being accused of remaining silent on Florida legislation that would limit classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Iger exited Disney on a high note as the company led the entertainment industry’s battle against Netflix in the streaming wars. The economic slowdown and high interest rates have hurt Disney+ as the company prepares for deep cost cuts.

“I am an optimist, and if I learned one thing from my years at Disney, it is that even in the face of uncertainty – perhaps especially in the face of uncertainty – our employees and Cast Members achieve the impossible,” Iger said in a memo to employees seen by Reuters.

The leadership change caught employees by surprise, one company source said.

World Cup Draws Attention to Equal Rights, Including Attire

Official-looking flyers have circulated on social media describing cultural expectations for fans attending the World Cup in Qatar. Some include rules for women’s attire: Shoulders and knees must be covered.

Problem is, it’s bogus.

While the local organizing committee suggests that fans “respect the culture,” no one will be detained or barred from games in Qatar because of clothing choices. But persistent rumors swirling around appropriate garb and modesty at soccer’s biggest tournament have also drawn attention to the country’s record on equality.

Rothna Begum, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, has studied Qatar’s male guardianship rules and women’s rights in the conservative country.

“There isn’t anyone is going to go around arresting you for this because there isn’t an official dress code,” Begum said. “There isn’t a compulsory dress code and you can’t get sanctioned for it. It’s just a social restriction, a social tradition.”

The local organizing committee includes a section on cultural awareness in its fan guide.

“People can generally wear their clothing of choice. Shoulders and knees should be covered when visiting public places like museums and other government buildings,” it said.

The phrase “public places” is up to interpretation.

The American Outlaws, the U.S. national team’s supporters’ group, produced its own fan guide.

“Fans can wear shorts and short sleeve shirts, and women are not required to cover their heads or faces. However, there are many buildings that require both men and women to cover their shoulders and knees before entering, including museums, shopping centers, and some restaurants,” the guide says. “We recommend that fans carry some pants and/or a top with sleeves if they plan on entering any buildings, as they may be asked to put them on.

“In the stadiums, men and women will be required to wear tops. People will not be permitted to go shirtless during matches or in public settings.”

The first World Cup in the Middle East comes at a time when there is international attention on the treatment of women in Iran. The nation, which sits across the Persian Gulf from Qatar, has been rocked by anti-hijab protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while being held by morality police for allegedly violating the country’s compulsory dress code for women. Activists have called for Iran to be expelled from the World Cup.

With Islam encouraging female modesty, most Qatari women wear headscarves and a loose cloak known as the abaya.

Begum, who wrote about Qatar and its treatment of women in a 2021 report for Human Rights Watch, said that while women have made progress in Qatar, they still face discrimination in almost every facet of their lives. Women must get permission from male guardians to marry, pursue higher education and work at certain jobs. Guardians can bar women under 25 from traveling abroad.

It’s a conservative culture that has little tolerance for dissent among its own citizens, she said.

“There are no independent women’s rights organizations and that’s partly because the authorities have laws that make it difficult for you to set up associations that are in any way deemed political. You are not allowed,” Begum said. “Women find it difficult to express or demand their rights offline or even online.”

That’s one of the reasons critics are questioning FIFA for awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Observers certainly noticed when retired American soccer star Carli Lloyd wore a long, high-collared dress with long sleeves for the World Cup draw earlier this year.

A letter recently circulated among teams from FIFA president Gianni Infantino and secretary general Fatma Samoura asked nations not to bring political or ideological issues into the tournament.

“Please,” they wrote, “let’s now focus on the football.”