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ISIS releases pictures showing destruction at Palmyra Temple

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credit: www.independent.o.uk

By NewsGram Staff-Writer

Extremist militant group ISIS has released a number of pictures showing the destruction of the ancient Baalshamin Temple in Palmyra, Syria.

credit: www.indepedent.co.uk
The Baalshamin Temple before explosion. credit: www.indepedent.co.uk

Uploaded on the social networking accounts of the group, the pictures depict the monument being planted with explosives. Faces of the militants installing explosives both inside and outside of temple have been cropped.

credit: www.cbc.ca
The blast which destroyed the temple. credit: www.cbc.ca

The 2,000-year-old structure, which is also declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO was known to be the best preserved and most pristine example of Greco-Roman architecture.

credit: www.indepedent.co.uk
ISIS Millitants planting the explosives. credit: www.indepedent.co.uk

The destruction has been deeply condemned all around the world. UNESCO in its statement called it “an immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity.” UNESCO termed the step as a coward act of ‘war crime’.

Isistemplepalmyra2
Explosives planted on inside the structure. credit: www.indepedent.co.uk

Experts at British Museum described the event as ‘deeply depressing’. The temple which was also called ‘Pearl of the Desert’ was bombed on Monday. The explosion was so large that nearby Roman sculptures were also affected.

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Ex-French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay Elected to Head UNESCO

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Audrey Azoulay, a French-Jewish woman
Audrey Azoulay, a French-Jewish woman of Moroccan descent, as its next Director-General. Wikimedia

United Nations, October 14: A day after the US and Israel announced they were withdrawing from the Unesco alleging anti-Israel bias in the organization, it elected Audrey Azoulay, a French-Jewish woman of Moroccan descent, as its next Director-General.

In the final round of voting by Unesco’s Executive Board on Friday at its headquarters in Paris, Azoulay defeated Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari of Qatar, winning 30 votes to his 28.

Audrey Azoulay will succeed Irina Bokova, a Bulgarian who ran unsuccessfully for Secretary-General of the UN last year.

In her vision statement or manifesto, while campaigning for the post, Azoulay wrote, “Unesco must assert itself with ambition as the conscience of the United Nations.”

Through “the defense of humanist values” the Unesco can bring new life to the UN’s “universalist project of peace and democracy,” she said.

Unesco is the science, education and culture arm of the UN family.

Audrey Azoulay has had a long career in arts and culture administration before becoming Culture Minister last year and leaving the job after the national elections last May.

She has been the deputy Director-General of the French National Centre of Cinematography and a legal expert on culture and communication for the European Commission.

When she takes over the helm of Unesco she must grapple with the fallout of the US leaving the organization.

US membership in the Unesco will formally end in 2018 but already in 2013 Washington had lost its voting rights because Congress stopped paying the dues to the organization starting in 2011 because it had admitted Palestine as a full member.

The US contribution was 22 percent of Unesco’s budget and the organization had to cut its programmes with US arrears in excess of 600 million.

The breaking point for the US came in July when Unesco called the Old City of Hebron and a sanctuary considered holy by both Jews and Muslims in the West Bank a part of Palestinian territory while designating them World Heritage Site.

The area is under Israeli control and Israel claims the area. Palestinians call Hebron Al-Khalil and the sanctuary is called the Tomb of the Patriarchs by Jews and Ibrahim Mosque by Muslims.

The campaign for Unesco’s top job started with 10 candidates and the list was whittled down to three this week.

Egyptian Moushira Khattab was the third candidate in Thursday’s fourth round ballot where Azoulay and Al-Kawari led and moved on to the final round.(IANS)

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Three reasons explaining the science behind temple visits

Various reasons explaining temple visits by Hindus. The coming generations are however not aware of them, unlike our ancestors.

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why we should visit temple
why we should visit temple
  • There are Scientific reasons behind visiting Temple.
  • These scientific reasons go beyond the limits of  ‘belief in God’.

Have You Ever Thought? Why do We Visit Temple?

Visiting Temple is a popular culture in the Hindu religion. However, the worshipers themselves are unaware of the real science & the benefits of behind the visiting temple, as they believe what is continuously being ingrained in their minds, the belief of taking blessings from the God. Their belief is not fallacious, but it tries to negate the scientific discipline behind it. This belief is more popular in the present generation, unlike our ancestors who were well versed with these explanations.

Scientific Reasons Why we should Visit Temple:

Paying visit to the temples are not only to get blessing but to get a calm and better mind set. The following 3 scientific reasons are the actual purpose of visiting the temple according to the Hindu script & you will understand, why we should visit temple often

  1. Moolasthanam

Idol
Moolasthanam

Many Hindu religion practitioners visiting a temple in the morning say that “prayer to God” gives them peace. Their statements have been proven true, as religious shrines are places known for attaining mental peace.  The structure of the temple is built after the idol is placed, which is at the pivotal point, known as the “Moolasthan” or the inner part of the temple. This is the point where Earth’s magnetic waves are extreme, which creates positive energy and builds a peaceful atmosphere. This one of the main scientific reasons why we should visit temple.

 

  1. Parikrama:

Parikrama
Devotee taking parikrama

Definition of Parikrama: Once we done praying, circling the inner sanctum of the temple where the deity resides is a a very common ritual in Hindu temples .This is called Parikrama or Pradakshina or Pradakshinam.

Science states that the parikrama we take while as part of our prayer to the God, helps us absorb all the positive energy present there. The parikrama should be taken in the clockwise direction. This one of the important reasons why we should visit temple.

Also Read:  Shradh Puja: Five Facts you should Know about Death Anniversary Ritual In Hinduism.

3. Visiting Temple Activates your sense organs

One can absorb the positive energy only when the five senses are activated. So, we should visit temple in order to activate our sense organs to absorb positive energy.

The Sense of Touch:

aarti
Taking Aarti

After the aarti, we move our hands over the camphor or diya and touch our eyes with it. The warmth activates the sense of touch.

The Sense of Smell:

The items kept around the worshiping area like the flowers, camphor incense sticks, create a strong essence and activate the sense of smell. Flowers like marigold and rose petals offered the most have a strong fragrance.

Pooja material
Pooja ingredients

The Sense of Sight:

Worshippers close their eyes while praying and once they open them, they see the camphor lit in the Moolsthan, the only light seen in dark, which activates their sense of sight. The Moolsthan is a dark place.

Prayers
People worshipping

The Sense of Hearing:

Bells
Worshiper ringing temple bell

The bells emit a sound creating unity in the right and left portions of the brain; the sound emitted lasts for at least 7 seconds in the form of an echo. These 7 seconds are enough to activate the seven healing chakras in the body.

The Sense of Taste:

copper vessel
copper vessel

Ayurveda states that Charnamrut given to us helps in balancing the three doshas- Vata, Pitta, Kapha, as it is kept in a copper vessel. Charnamrut is a liquid prasad made of curd, milk and ghee. It also activates the sense of taste.

Three reasons explaining the scientific reasons as why we should visit temple Click To Tweet

The people living in the ancient times were well aware of these reasons, and that is how they lead their lives. However, the strict impositions of ‘belief in God’ put on people to worship have kept them away from these scientific disciplines.

by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.  Twitter @ImMeghaacharya


Megha can be reached at Twitter @ImMeghaacharya

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Displaced Villagers Return to Old Mosul Only to Find Destruction, Danger and Dead Bodies; Returnees Claim ‘Even Soldiers Stay Indoors After Dark’

The wreckage from a few of the destroyed homes has been cleared away as a handful villagers visit their homes in Old Mosul, which has been completely destroyed following a battle against the ISIS

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Old Mosul
Abd Elaam is one of the only people living in the Old Mosul in Iraq, where the destruction has been compared to World War II Dresden, Aug. 27, 2017.
  • Old Mosul has been completely shattered in the battle to recapture the city from Islamic State militants
  • About 900,000 people have been displaced by the battle for Mosul, and many neighborhoods have been completely destroyed by war
  • Areas around the village are slowly being re-populated, but many places are entirely without services like trash collection, electricity, and running water

Mosul, September 5, 2017 : “All you can hear at night is the sound of broken doors flapping in the wind,” says Abd Elaam, a 50-year-old furniture maker. “Even soldiers stay indoors after dark.”

Elaam is currently one of the very few civilians living in Old Mosul, an ancient neighborhood shattered by the battle to recapture the city from Islamic State militants. Like many families that survived IS rule, he says, his resources are completely exhausted by the war and he has nowhere else to go.

Other families trickle in by day, looking to repair their broken homes or recover the bodies of their dead loved ones. But even during daylight hours, the neighborhood is dangerous, riddled with bombs and an unknown number of militants hiding out in the vast network of tunnels under the tightly-packed buildings and piles of rubble. The level of destruction has been compared to World War II Dresden.

 

Old Mosul
About 900,000 people have been displaced by the battle for Mosul, and many neighborhoods like Mosul’s Old City have been completely destroyed by the war, July 9, 2017. (H. Murdock/VOA)

“A IS militant came out of one those houses two weeks ago,” Elaam says, gesturing towards another dusty, broken street. “He blew himself up near two families. They were all injured and the bomber was cut in half.”

The militant’s body, like other fallen IS fighters in Old Mosul, was shoved under the rubble to reduce the smell of rot in the 45 degree-plus weather. When Iraq declared victory over IS in early July, the bodies of dead militants lay scattered in buildings and on the streets of nearly every block. Authorities searched through giant piles of concrete, once homes, for the remains of civilian families. But, they said, the only government department responsible for the IS bodies was garbage collection.

 

Old Mosul
Bodies of IS fighters lie in the rubble of Old Mosul on nearly every block, while the bodies of families killed in airstrikes have to be dug out from under the demolished buildings in Mosul, Iraq, July 9, 2017. (H. Murdock/VOA)

Old Mosul is far from re-establishing city services like trash pickup. There is no running water, electricity or businesses open. Yet other families are following Elaam’s lead, and plan to return to their homes as soon as possible.

“In a few days I will move back and bring my family,” says Ghanem Younis, 72, resting on a beige plastic chair in a sliver of shade. “If they provide electricity and water, everyone would come back.”

Younger men and children squat around Ghanem, recalling the isolation of the final months of the battle that began late last year. “We couldn’t go more than 50 meters from our front doors,” says Sufian, a 27-year-old unemployed construction worker. “We spent our time sitting right here with Uncle Ghanem.”

 

Old Mosul
Residents of Old Mosul say homes left standing after months of heavy fighting are often ransacked as soldiers search for bombs and IS fighters hiding in tunnels under the city. (VOA)

But it is not sentiment driving some families home despite the dangers, adds Elaam, as more neighbors join the conversation.

“People cannot stay with friends and relatives forever,” he says. Camps for those displaced are also crowded. “No one has anywhere else to go,” he adds.

Airstrike Damage

A few blocks away, outside the checkpoints that cut off the Old City, the Zanjelli neighborhood is slowly being repopulated.

Old Mosul
Areas around Old Mosul are slowly being re-populated, but many places are entirely without electricity, running water and other city services, like trash collection. (VOA)

 

Construction workers build a market to replace one destroyed in airstrikes, while the owners of what was once a shoe store paint the shelves, hoping to re-open in the coming weeks. The wreckage from a few of the destroyed homes has been cleared away, and the bodies of many of the dead are now buried in graveyards.

In less than five minutes of conversation, at least three people tell us about family members, including toddlers, killed in airstrikes in the last months of battle.

“There was an IS sniper firing from next to my house and the airstrike hit us,” says Youseff Hussain, 35. “Fifteen members of my family were killed.”

 

Old Mosul
Iraqi search parties looking for survivors and the remains of dead civilians in Old Mosul. (VOA)

Rebuilding the neighborhood, adds Hussain, is made doubly frustrating by the fact that it was Iraq’s allies, including the United States, who destroyed many of their homes as they battled IS from the air.

Many locals say the sacrifice of property and lives may have been necessary to prevent the city, then under siege, from total starvation. But after bearing the brunt of the war with IS, largely considered a global threat, residents say they thought the international community or the government would help them rebuild.

The only aid families here get right now, Zanjelli residents say, is Iraqi military rations, as soldiers share their food.

“There is nothing they can do to pay us back for what we have lost,” says Hussain. “But shouldn’t we at least get refunded for our property?” (VOA)