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Glavin: A former Green leadership contender's odd venture into Iranian-Canadian politics – Ottawa Citizen

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Lascaris also claims the ICC leadership’s opponents include “individuals who collaborate with B’nai Brith” as well. Said Kahnemuyipour, an associate professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga: “We don’t even know what this means.”

Lascaris, whose political career is pockmarked by strident anti-Israel eruptions of various kinds, is currently suing B’nai Brith over what he calls an unfounded and libellous allegation regarding Palestinian terrorism. B’nai Brith is a hard-headed Jewish community service organization that mobilizes fiercely around the pathology of anti-semitism in Canada.

And that’s how this latest venture into Iranian-Canadian politics is not an odd twist in Lascaris’ political career, after all. Khomeinist Iran is Israel’s sworn enemy. The ICC is widely known among Iranian Canadians for adopting policies that are “hamsuyan,” a Persian term meaning aligned with, or at least simpatico with, the Khomeinist regime. A substantial body of opinion in the community wants the ICC leadership dislodged.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is what might be charitably described as a theme of Lascaris’ activist preoccupations, and his eruptions have been interpreted as anti-semitic on more than one occasion.

Two years ago, Lascaris was roundly condemned by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh for accusing Liberal MPs Anthony Housefather and Michael Levitt or harbouring a loyalty to Israel that superseded their Canadian allegiance. Two years before that, Lascaris organized a motion adopted by the Green Party membership in support of a “boycott, divestment and sanctions” strategy against Israel. The resolution was later overturned, but not before Green leader Elizabeth May said the uproar was enough to make her consider leaving the party.

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Indian movie superstar Rajinikanth to launch political party – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ashok Sharma, The Associated Press


Published Thursday, December 3, 2020 1:12PM EST

NEW DELHI – Indian movie superstar Rajinikanth has announced plans to launch his own political party in southern India in January, ending years of speculation by millions of his fans on his political future.

He said in a tweet that he will make an announcement on December 31st — apparently in relation to legislative elections in Tamil Nadu state expected around June next year.

He started taking an active part in politics in 2017.

The 69-year-old Rajinikanth is one of India’s most popular stars.

He’s made more than 175 films since 1975, mostly in the Tamil and Telugu languages.

He tweets that in the upcoming Assembly elections, “the emergence of spiritual politics will happen for sure — A wonder will happen.”

His political prospects appear bright following a vacuum created by the deaths of Jayaram Jayalalithaa, an actor-turned politician with the governing party in the state, and Muthuvel Karunanidhi, the leader of the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party.

Cinema has always influenced Tamil politics by turning actors into popular politicians.

Born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, Rajinikanth worked as a bus conductor for three years before joining an acting school.

He started in small roles as a villain in Tamil cinema and worked his way up, landing roles in Bollywood, the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai.

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Pandemic decision-making requires politics and science work 'hand in glove:' expert – CBC.ca

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When it comes to effective decision-making at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, one expert says it’s more complicated than simply following the science.

“If we look at countries around the world that have very successfully dealt with the pandemic, it was when politicians and scientific advice were working hand in glove,” said Heidi Tworek, associate professor in international history and public policy at the University of British Columbia.

“In places like Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand, Senegal, we didn’t see that politicians completely disappeared. They were actually really crucial in helping people to understand why they were doing what they were doing, what was the meaning of the guidelines that they were following,” she told The Current‘s Matt Galloway. 

“So I think there’s lots of ways in which politicians can be very, very fruitfully involved. But the balance there is what is crucial.”

From U.S. president-elect Joe Biden to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, many political leaders have promised to take cues from the science and medical communities to guide their people to the other side of the coronavirus pandemic. But government policy and scientific evidence are not always in lockstep, and those decisions are not always easy to make.

Like any new disease, the science around COVID-19 is constantly evolving, said Tworek, and not all scientists are going to agree on the best course of action.

“And so there have to be decisions made depending on what those disagreements are,” she said.

Striking a balance

Stephen Meek, a former U.K. civil servant, said there is always an inevitable degree of tension between what doctors advise in a health crisis, and what politicians decide to do.

That’s why it’s important that politicians have access to the best evidence and advice possible, he said.

“But fundamentally, what politics is and what politicians have to do, is try to strike the right balance on the base of that evidence,” explained Meek, who is also director of the Institute for Policy and Engagement at the University of Nottingham. 

“And that may mean not doing exactly what the pure medical advice on dealing with the pandemic would say.”

He added that political leaders will more easily maintain public trust if they can clearly articulate the medical evidence that experts have provided, and the reasonings behind their policy decisions — whether it follows medical advice to the letter, or not.

Meek cited the different pandemic responses in England and Scotland as an example of this in action.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has earned public support for being forthright about how she makes political decisions on the COVID-19 health crisis, says Stephen Meek of the University of Nottingham. (Jane Barlow-Pool/Getty Images)

While British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had long said he was making pandemic-related decisions based on science, he has since split from that course, which has earned him criticism.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has garnered much stronger public support, said Meek.

“[Sturgeon] has fronted up every day and talked about how she’s taking decisions on the basis of evidence, rather than as we’ve had with Boris Johnson sometimes saying, ‘I’m doing what the scientists say,’ [and] sometimes saying other stuff,” he said.

Dr. Jim Talbot agrees that maintaining public trust is key in fighting this health crisis. 

The only currency you have in public health is trust.– Dr. Jim Talbot, former chief medical officer of health

But that also means giving medical officers of health the ability to speak candidly to the public on health issues, he said.

“In Flint, Mich., where the civil authorities decided they didn’t want to warn people about the lead in the drinking water … people were very angry — rightfully so — that they could have done something to prevent the risk to their kids and to babies if they’d known,” said Talbot , a former chief medical officer for Alberta and Nunavut.

“But they weren’t informed.”

Talbot said that public trust is key for authorities to be able to make decisions and get things done.

“The only currency you have in public health is trust,” he said. “And if you squander that trust, you have nothing. It doesn’t matter your position or funding or anything else. Trust is our only currency.”


Written by Kirsten Fenn. Produced by Lindsay Rempel and Alex Zabjek.

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Indian movie superstar Rajinikanth to launch political party – Prince George Citizen

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NEW DELHI — Indian movie superstar Rajinikanth said Thursday he plans to launch his own political party in southern India in January, ending years of speculation by millions of his fans on his political future.

He said in a tweet that he will make an announcement on Dec. 31, apparently in relation to legislative elections in Tamil Nadu state expected around June next year. He started taking an active part in politics in 2017.

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Rajinikanth, 69, is one of India’s most popular stars with more than 175 films since 1975, mostly in the Tamil and Telugu languages.

“In the upcoming Assembly elections, the emergence of spiritual politics will happen for sure. A wonder will happen,” he tweeted. An announcement on matters connected to the party’s launch will be made Dec. 31, he said.

His political prospects appear bright following a vacuum created by the deaths of Jayaram Jayalalithaa, an actor-turned politician with the governing party in the state, and Muthuvel Karunanidhi, the leader of the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party.

Cinema has always influenced Tamil politics by turning actors into popular politicians.

C.N. Annadurai and M. Karunanidhi were scriptwriters who went on to become chief ministers. M.G. Ramachandran, a top actor-turned-politician, also had a strong following.

Born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, Rajinikanth worked as a bus conductor for three years before joining an acting school. He started in small roles as a villain in Tamil cinema and worked his way up, landing roles in Bollywood, the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai.

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan also tried his hand in politics as a member of India’s Parliament, representing the Congress party in support of his friend, then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in the 1980s. He resigned after three years following allegations that he accepted bribes in the purchase of artillery guns. His name was later cleared in the scandal.

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