Small US town has 4-year-old boy as mayor

Updated 10 July 2013
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Small US town has 4-year-old boy as mayor

DORSET, Minnesota: Supporters of the mayor in the tiny Minnesota tourist town of Dorset can stuff the ballot box all they want as he seeks re-election. The mayor — a short guy — is known for his fondness of ice cream and fishing. And he’s got the county’s top law-enforcement official in his pocket.
Say hello to Mayor Robert “Bobby” Tufts. He’s 4 years old and not even in school yet.
Bobby was only 3 when he won election last year as mayor of Dorset (population 22 to 28, depending on whether the minister and his family are in town). Dorset, which bills itself as the Restaurant Capital of the World, has no formal city government.
Every year the town draws a name during its Taste of Dorset Festival, and the winner gets to be mayor. Anyone can vote as many times as they like — for $1 a vote — at any of the ballot boxes in stores around town. Bobby is running for a second term, and he gets to draw the winning name Aug. 4, so it’s possible he could draw his own name.
Calls of “Mr. Mayor” greet Bobby as he strolls around Dorset, handing out his campaign card. One side shows Bobby, his dark hair slicked down, wearing his tan fishing vest over a suit jacket. The other side shows Bobby sitting in a porch swing with his girlfriend, Sophie.
“I would love to be your Mayor as much as I love Sophie,” the card reads.
“He’s been pretty good. Lotta PR for the town,” said his mother, Emma Tufts, 34. “I think he’s doing a fine job.”
Bobby’s job as mayor is to greet people as they come to Dorset, located among the pines and lakes of northern Minnesota about 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis. Resorts and tourism are the main industry, and restaurants ranging from Mexican to Italian to family style line about two blocks on either side of the highway that runs through the middle of town.
Bobby’s major act as mayor so far has been to make ice cream the top of the food pyramid. He has many favorite flavors.
“Chocolate. And vanilla. Strawberry. Cotton candy kind. And rainbow sherbet,” said the mayor.
On a recent steamy summer morning, Bobby skipped ahead as he led a group of about 20 children and adults on a walk on the Heartland Trail to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley in Fargo, North Dakota. He wore his signature black fedora, adorned with fishing lures and a large button with his photo, and seemed endlessly energetic.
“I think he’s a cute little bugger and I think a lot of people share the same, you know, opinion as me, and it’s neat,” Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes says. “You know, how often do you see a little kid like that who’s — call ‘em camera-friendly or whatever, you know — he’s got a very good little personality, and he’s not afraid to show it. So I think it’s great.”
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Follow Jeff Baenen on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/JeffBaenen


#MeToo hits Pakistan as allegations mount against leading singer

Updated 20 April 2018
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#MeToo hits Pakistan as allegations mount against leading singer

  • Actress Meesha Shafi posted a lengthy message on Twitter, accusing singer Ali Zafar of physically harassing her on “more than one occasion”
  • “No woman goes public with allegations like this just for, fun," tweeted Pakistani novelist and columnist Bina Shah

ISLAMABAD: Pressure mounted Friday against Pakistani singer Ali Zafar after he was hit with a sexual harassment allegation by a leading actress in the first high profile “#metoo” accusation in the staunchly patriarchal country.
The allegations were trending across social media in Pakistan after popular actress Meesha Shafi posted a lengthy message on Twitter, accusing Zafar of physically harassing her on “more than one occasion.”
“This happened to me despite the fact I am an empowered, accomplished woman who is known for speaking her mind!” read the statement.
Zafar denied the accusations, threatening legal action against the actress.
“I intend to take this through the courts of law, and to address this professionally and seriously rather than to lodge any accusations here,” he wrote on Twitter.
Following the accusation, other high-profile voices were quick to lend their support.
“No woman goes public with allegations like this just for, fun. Obviously, you spend no time listening to women when they talk about how widespread harassment is in our society,” tweeted Pakistani novelist and columnist Bina Shah.
Zafar has dominated the music charts in Pakistan for nearly two decades and has also starred in a number of films including Bollywood satire “Tere bin Laden” which translates as “Your Bin Laden.”
The #MeToo and #Timesup campaigns have gone global since allegations of sexual misconduct by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein were published last October, sparking an avalanche of accusations against other powerful men.
However, the movement has been slow to catch on in Pakistan, where women have fought for their rights for years in a patriarchal society where so-called “honor” killings and attacks on women remain commonplace.
In a report released earlier this week by watchdog Human Rights Commission Pakistan, the group said violence against women remained troubling, with 5,660 related crimes reported in the country’s four provinces in the first 10 months of 2017.
In August, firebrand opposition leader Imran Khan was also hit with allegations of sexual misconduct by a female lawmaker who accused the famed cricketer of sending obscene text messages and promoting a culture of sexism within his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
He later denied the allegations.