Afghan institute that empowers girls and pioneers of hard rock, Metallica win music’s ‘Nobel Prize’

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Musicians Robert Trujillo (L) and James Hetfield of Metallica perform onstage at the Rose Bowl on July 29, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP)
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Afghan music students play during a rehearsal at The Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul. In the face of death threats and accusations they are dishonoring their families by daring to perform, the women of Afghanistan’s first all-female orchestra are charting a new destiny for themselves through music (Wakil Kohsar/AFP)
Updated 14 February 2018
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Afghan institute that empowers girls and pioneers of hard rock, Metallica win music’s ‘Nobel Prize’

STOCKHOLM: An Afghan music institute that has empowered girls in the war-torn country and metal pioneers Metallica on Wednesday shared the Polar Music Prize, often called music’s Nobel.
The laureates will each receive one million Swedish kronor (101,000 euros, $125,000) at a televised gala in Stockholm on June 14 in the presence of King Carl XVI Gustaf.
The Afghan National Institute of Music was honored along with its founder, Ahmad Sarmast, who started the school in 2010 in a rare coeducational initiative in the war-torn country.
The institute, which teaches both Afghan and Western music, helped generate the country’s first all-female orchestra which performed last yar at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Sarmast, who has faced substantial risk in a country where both music and girls’ education was banned under the repressive 1996-2001 Taliban regime, said he was “very excited, honored and privileged” to win the prize.
“We believe that our two recipients, although from very contrasting worlds, exemplify the mission of the Polar Music Prize, and that is to honor musicians and music organizations whose work has made a difference to people’s lives,” Marie Ledin, managing director of the award, said in a statement.
“Metallica is loved and admired by millions of hard rock fans across the globe,” she said.
Sarmast and the music institute, meanwhile, have worked “to restore the joy and power of music to children’s lives,” she said.
Metallica is one of the most influential bands in heavy metal, helping bring the angry and aggressive music to the mainstream and preserving an avid fan base for decades.
Lars Ulrich, the California band’s Danish-born drummer, called the Polar Music Prize “a great validation of everything that Metallica has done over the last 35 years.”
“At the same time, we feel like we’re in our prime with a lot of good years ahead of us,” Ulrich said of the band, which released its 10th album, “Hardwired... to Self-Destruct” in late 2016.
The Polar Music Prize was established in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, best known as the manager of Swedish pop superstars ABBA, and selects two laureates each year.
The prize’s stated goal is to “break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music.”
Past laureates have included Sting, Bob Dylan, Bjork, Sonny Rollins and Ravi Shankar.


Saudi Arabia's foreign minister attends G-20 meet in Argentine capital

G-20 foreign ministers pose for a group photo in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires. (SPA)
Updated 22 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia's foreign minister attends G-20 meet in Argentine capital

  • They discussed issues of common interest, ways of enhancing bilateral relations and cooperation with the Kingdom, and issues on the agenda of the meeting

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir represented the Kingdom at the G-20 foreign ministers’ meeting in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires. 

On the sidelines of the meeting, Al-Jubeir met Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faure, and Senegalese Foreign Minister Sidiki Kaba.

They discussed issues of common interest, ways of enhancing bilateral relations and cooperation with the Kingdom, and issues on the agenda of the meeting.

The meeting was attended by the Foreign Ministry’s Undersecretary for Multilateral International Affairs Dr. Abdulrahman bin Ibrahim Al-Rassi and the Saudi Ambassador to Argentina Riyad bin Saud Al-Khenene.