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Petitioner objects to Pakistani candidate's lack of beard

In one of the odder reasons we've come across for stonewalling a politician's bid for office, a voter has formally objected to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Shahbaz Sharif's candidacy in Pakistan's May 11 elections, citing the absence of his beard. Pakistan's Geo TV reports:

[The voter] claimed that the former chief minister didn't follow Sunnah [teachings of the prophet] and teachings of Islam. The applicant said Mr Shahbaz didn't grew a beard as per Sunnah so his nomination papers be rejected and be disqualified from contesting election.

While beards are prevalent among Muslim politicians, they are certainly not a requirement -- particularly in Pakistan, whose former and current presidents, Asif Ali Zardari and Pervez Musharraf, both boast clean-shaven jaws. As Sharif tweeted on Thursday, "Never thought beard would be relevant to contesting elections."

The politician, a former chief minister of Punjab, isn't just facing opposition over his facial hair, however. As the Pakistani paper Dawn reported on Thursday, the country's National Accountability Bureau has also objected to the candidacy of Shahbaz and his brother Nawaz (a former prime minister), who "have been accused of accumulating money and assets beyond their declared means of income by misusing authority." Perhaps, then, the main issue is not Shahbaz's lack of a beard, but rather the man behind it.

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Roger Ebert's favorite foreign films

I don't have much to say about the death of Robert Ebert, a great film critic and incredibly prolific writer. I'm sure the encomiums are flying fast and furious. But one thing I do find notable about Ebert, and little-appreciated, is his popularization of foreign films. In this list of his 100 favorite movies of the last decade, cobbled together from his annual top picks, I count 18 foreign pictures. Here they are:

1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (China)

2. Innocence (Australia)

3. City of God (Brazil)

4. Y Tu Mamá También (Mexico)

5. Invincible (Germany)

6. Spirited Away (Japan)

7. The Son (Belgium)

8. In America (Ireland)

9. Moolaade (France)

10. Me and You and Everyone We Know (UK)

11. Yes (UK)

12. Pan's Labyrinth (Spain)

13. The Lives of Others (Germany)

14. Away From Her (UK)

15. La Vie en Rose (France)

16. The Band's Visit (Israel)

17. Happy-Go-Lucky (UK)

18. Slumdog Millionaire (UK)

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