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64 Percent Americans support same-sex marriage and say it should be legalised: Poll

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LGBT rally, Wikimedia

Washington, May 16, 2017: Sixty-four per cent of Americans support same-sex marriage and say it should be legalised, according to a new poll.

The results in the Gallup poll released on Monday showed a 3 per cent increase since last year and the most support for gay marriage since the US-based research organisation began tracking the issue in 1996, when just 27 per cent backed it, Politico news reported.

Democrats (74 percent) and independents (71 percent) have been most accepting of legalising same-sex marriages, with support among Democrats reaching a majority in 2004, followed by a majority among independents in 2007.

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Forty-seven per cent of Republicans support legalising same-sex marriage, the highest ever mark from the party.

The Supreme Court in June 2015 legalised gay marriage nationwide in a landmark 5-4 ruling that said the Constitution bars states from denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples, reports Politico news.

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While some may still have objections to same-sex unions over moral or religious grounds despite the Supreme Court ruling, Americans are more accepting of same-sex relations, with 72 per cent of respondents saying it should be legal.

The survey of 1,011 adults was conducted May 3 to 7 via landline and cellphones. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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‘In Standing up for Herself, Edie Also Stood up for Millions of Americans’, Tweets Bill Clinton as the World Mourns the Death of Gay Rights Activist Edith Windsor

Paying his tribute to Edie, former US President Barack Obama rightly said, "Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor - and few made as big a difference to America."

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Edith Windsor
Edie dearly loved the LGBTQ community which loved her right back and held her in reverence for her fight for freedom, equality, and justice. Wikemedia

New York, September 13, 2017 Gay rights activist Edith Windsor, whose same-sex marriage fight led to a landmark US ruling, has died aged 88.

Her death was confirmed to the New York Times by her wife Judith Kasen-Windsor. She died in New York.

“The world lost a tiny but tough-as-nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality,” the BBC quoted Kasen-Windsor as saying.

“Edie was the light of my life. She will always be the light for the LGBTQ community, which she loved so much and which loved her right back,” she added.

Edith Windsor’s Supreme Court case struck down the Defence of Marriage Act in 2013, granting same-sex married couples federal recognition for the first time.

She had sued the US government after being ordered to pay $363,053 in federal estate tax after her previous wife, Thea Spyer, died. The couple had been partners for 44 years and had married in Canada in 2007.

Windsor, known as Edie, argued that the provision of the law which defined marriage as between a man and a woman prevented her from getting a tax deduction due to married couples – and was “unconstitutional”.

In the landmark 2013 ruling, the US Supreme Court agreed – and that decision became the basis for a wave of further court rulings increasing the rights of same-sex couples.

In 2015, another crucial Supreme Court ruling gave same-sex couples the right to marry.

Remembering the gay rights trailblazer Edith Windsor, former US Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama also paid their tributes.

“Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor – and few made as big a difference to America,” Obama said. While Clinton tweeted: “In standing up for herself, Edie also stood up for millions of Americans…” (IANS)

 

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Recent Poll Reveals that 67% Americans Receive their News from Social Media

While Facebook still dwarfs other social media sites in terms of news dissemination, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube made strong gains in the number of people using the sites for news over the course of the last year

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Social Media
Social Media is the source of news for 67% Americans. Wikimedia

September 08, 2017: A full 67 percent of Americans now report receiving at least a portion of their news from social media, according to a new poll released Thursday.

The Pew Research poll showed a small increase since early 2016, when 62 percent of people said they relied on social media for some of their news. The overall change isn’t particularly substantial, but among some demographics, social media use increased significantly.

Also Read: Children’s Commissioner for England Warns against Overuse of Social Media among Children

Among non-white U.S. adults, 74 percent now say they get news from social media, marking a 10-percent increase over last year when 64 percent said they did. Similarly, among those aged 50 or older, the percentage who said they receive news from social media rose by 10 percent from 2016 to 55 percent.

While Facebook still dwarfs other social media sites in terms of news dissemination, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube made strong gains in the number of people using the sites for news over the course of the last year.

“Looking at the population as a whole, Facebook by far still leads every other sites as a source of news. This is largely due to Facebook’s large user base, compared with other platforms, and the fact that most of its users get news on the site,” the report reads.

Twitter showed a 15-percent increase in the number of users who said that’s where they get their news, from 59 percent in 2016 to 74 percent in 2017. The number of YouTube users who get news from the site rose from 21 percent in 2016 to 32 percent in 2017. Snapchat showed a 12-percent gain, from 17 percent in 2016 to 29 percent in 2017. (IANS)