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Chinese political academy holds its first seminar for Catholic clergy in China

The Central Institute of Socialism (CIS) seminar will run till March 7 and 49 Catholic clergy members from Beijing and Jiangxi province will attend

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At Central Institute of Socialism (CIS) in China, Wikimedia

Beijing, Mar 4, 2017: A Chinese political academy held its first seminar for Catholic clergy in China to discuss Chinese culture and religious policies, officials said on Saturday.

The Central Institute of Socialism (CIS) seminar will run till March 7 and 49 Catholic clergy members from Beijing and Jiangxi province will attend, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Scholars, including Canadian professor of politics Daniel Bell, have been invited to lecture on topics including Confucianism, development of Christian culture in China and the history of relations between Chinese politics and religion.

The CIS said it will hold a seminar for representatives from the Christian community in China on similar topics.

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Founded in 1956, the CIS is a political academy for non-communist parties and people without party affiliation.

It has offered Chinese cultural education to figures from ethnic and religious circles, new social groups, as well as the private sector. (IANS)

 

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Food Lovers: Indulge in Gluttony this Dim Sum Festival in Maharashtra

Chef Rahul Hajarnavis, Culinary Director boasts about creating unparalleled and everlasting experiences for the taste buds

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Dim Sum Festival
Dim Sum Festival starts on July 7 in Maharashtra. Pixabay

Mumbai (Maharashtra), July 3, 2017: The dim sum festival starts on July 7 here, and is lined up for two months, bragging about 40 dishes at its disposal one can indulge in throughout the monsoon season.

Dim Sum Buffet: The appetizing smell of Spicy Broccoli, Water Chestnut, mushrooms, cream cheese dumplings make sure that you will indulge in gluttony. The menu serves to every food lover (whether from Dubai to Mumbai) with its vegetarian and non-vegetarian as well as vegan dim sums to drool.

According to ANI report, Chef Rahul Hajarnavis, Culinary Director boasts about creating unparalleled and everlasting experiences for the taste buds. With the approaching monsoons, the menu comprising of a palette of 40 dim sums, which are sure to cater to various preferences tickling the taste bulbs.

ALSO READ: These 10 Food Items are Popular with Indians and not to be missed this Monsoon!

Further, he adds to them freshly inculcated cocktails like Peach Thai Chilli Martini that comes furnished with flavors like fresh pink grapefruit juice and homemade Elderflower syrup aligned with a chilled martini glass, Rosemary and Pomegranate, angostura bitters orange peel and other such tempting delicacies.

To make the cocktail menu a bit quirky, an egg and tea-infused cocktail called Rose in Bloom Martini with Gordon’s gin, rose in bloom tea, elderflower syrup, egg white, angostura bitters and rose petals are added.

The feast will be held until 31st August in their outlets across cities like Mumbai and Bengaluru. Food Lovers, satisfy your taste buds!

– prepared by Puja Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter: @pujas1994

 

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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

ALSO READ: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)

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Significance of Touching Someone’s Feet in Hinduism

Pluralism, respect and patience are incorporated in Hinduism since its birth. With culture and traditions being so close to Hinduism, read why it is considered respectful to touch your elder's feet

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Elder's feet
In Hinduism, younger person touches the feet of an elder person out of respect and love. Wikimedia
  • Tradition and culture is vital to the Hindu religion
  • The scriptures and teachings of the religion educate us about respect and dignity
  • One of the many traditions is touching feet of elders out of respect and get blessings

June 22, 2017: Hindus have been carrying their historic traditions since many years. Westernization has been welcomed in our lives but not with the elimination of our own culture and heritage. There are many traditions that are exclusive to Hindu tradition, one of the very famous is the touching feet of elders to earn their blessings.

ALSO READ: What Significance Rudraksha holds in Hinduism?

But what is the significance of touching the feet of elders:

Tradition of “Touching feet of elders” has been continuing since so many generations and is still taught to the children today? 

Firstly, touching feet of elders is a form of pranam (greeting). Namaste is another popular form of greeting somebody. Foot touching, however, is a form for the young to greet the elder.

Secondly, the saying “everytime you bow you receive a blessing” is a part of Hindu philosophy. Certainly, the elders bless the younger one when the latter bends to touch their feet. “Sada Khush Raho” (Stay content forever) or more traditionally “Ayushman Bhava” (May you live long) is a common response to the traditional act.

Therefore, while it may seem odd to the other cultures when they witness this act, it is eternal to the Hindu culture. Of course, like any other ritual, touching elder’s feet should not be imposed upon the young person, rather, should come from within.

The Right Way of Touching Feet Of Elders

To understand this, we must first know the right way of touching one’s feet. Bend the upper half of your body, ideally without bending your knees, and stretch both your arms – with your head between them – to touch the feet of the elder. Obvious that it is, the fingertips of your left hand should touch the right foot of the elder and your right hand should be on their left foot. The elder person should now touch the top of your head with their right hand.

The Scientific explanation of touching feet Of Elders:

The nerves that start from our brain spread across all your body. These nerves or wires end in the fingertips of your hand and feet. When you join the fingertips of your hand to those of their opposite feet, a circuit is immediately formed and the energies of two bodies are connected. Your fingers and palms become the ‘receptor’ of energy and the feet of other person become the ‘giver’ of energy.

Usually, the person of whose feet you are touching is either old or pious. When they accept your respect which came from your reduced ego (and is called your shraddha) their hearts emit positive thoughts and energy (which is called their karuna) which reaches you through their hands and toes.

In essence, the completed circuit enables flow of energy and increases cosmic energy, switching on a quick connect between two minds and hearts. To an extent, the same is achieved through handshakes and hugs. Ever wondered why you suddenly feel better after a firm handshake or an affectionate hug? Now you know. You should feel the same after touching feet of a good soul, provided you do it the right way.

Some schools of thought say older people absorb sin from younger people, which I’m yet to believe and accept, so my explanation of science behind touching feet in India ends here.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393