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By Harshmeet Singh
2015 was a year of political turbulence at the international level. With multiple terror attacks, civil wars, international negotiations, and a migrant crisis, the year 2015 had no dearth of activity in the international scene.
And if the past couple of months are anything to go by, it would be surprising if 2016 doesn’t take the same path of hectic international diplomacy. To give you a heads up, NewsGram brings forth the 10 most awaited events of 2016 that could define the world order.
January 1: Deadline for the peace talks between Syrian Government and opposition
The second half of 2015 was mostly filled with news related to Syria. After the loss of thousands of lives in the war zone at the hands of the foreign forces, the two sides have agreed to call a truce, or so it seems.
January 9: Sri Lanka’s parliament to take form of a constituent assembly
On the day when President Maithripala Sirisena will kick off his second year in the office, the country’s parliament will be converted into a constituent assembly to frame a new constitution that will replace the 1978 constitution. There is a growing demand within the country to rewrite the constitution to seek a solution to the ethnic issue persisting in the country.
February 1: US Presidential primaries and caucuses commence
With the US presidential debates getting unprecedented International coverage due to the presence of billionaire Donald Trump, this year’s presidential elections will be a keenly followed event. The primaries and caucuses will decide the candidates who will eventually run for the President.
February 26: Parliamentary elections in Iran
Iran’s nuclear deal with the P5+1 seems to have brought a new confidence in the country, which is seeking to play an active role in the regional politics. This makes the 2 simultaneous elections in Iran all the more interesting. The country will witness elections for the national parliament (Majlis) where the elected members serve a four-year term and for the Assembly of Experts, where members get an eight-year term.
April/May: West Bengal goes to polls
The current term of the Mamata Banerjee government ends on 20th May 2016. After the unexpected loss in Bihar, the BJP will look to come back to the winning ways and shoot up its strength in the upper house of the Parliament to avoid any future disruptions.
June 1: World’s longest and deepest traffic channel opens
The Gotthard Base Tunnel, with a route length of about 57 km, will open on June 1. It is the first flat low-level route which passes through the Alps Mountains. 2016 will also see China start the construction of an undersea tunnel which will be more than double the length of the Gotthard Base Tunnel and connect the Chinese cities of Dalian and Yantai.
July 4: NASA’s Juno to arrive on Jupiter
If all goes to plan, NASA’s spacecraft Juno will complete its five-year journey and land on Jupiter on July 4. Juno is expected to provide critical information about Jupiter, such as its gravitational field, magnetic field, mass distribution, winds circulation, etc.
August 5: The Rio Olympics starts
Over 10,500 athletes representing 206 national Olympics will compete for the honors to be called the best in the world. This year’s Olympics will also feature sports like golf and rugby seven. The closing ceremony is scheduled for 21 August.
November 8: US Presidential and Congressional elections begin
The elections for the next ‘most powerful man in the world’ will take place this year.
December 31: Foreign forces to withdraw from Afghanistan
A long and punishing war in Afghanistan will come to an end with the ending of 2016. The last Australian, British and American troops are expected to withdraw from Afghanistan on the last day of the year.
The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).
The UK government also announced that arrivals from France to England will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. The step aligns France with the rest of the amber list now that the proportion of beta variant cases has fallen, where those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, the US or Europe do not need to quarantine when arriving in England.
This move also simplifies the system to three categories, as well as the green watch list to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.
To continue cautiously reopening international travel, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the government's green list, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health.
Besides India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will also be moved from the red to the amber list, as the situation in these countries has improved.
The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country's epidemiological picture changes, a statement by the UK government said.
Following an assessment of the latest data, Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico will be added to the red list as they present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we've made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.
"While we must continue to be cautious, today's changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public."
Since February, anyone who arrives in the UK from a red list country has been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.
In order to ensure taxpayers are not subsidising the costs of staying in these facilities, which have gone up, the cost will increase from August 12. Alternative payment arrangements remain available to those who genuinely cannot afford to pay and rates remain the same for children up to 12.(IANS/HP)
A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.
According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.
Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.
Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.
The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".
But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.
A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.
In response, one Twitter user said: "Ganesh Temple, village Bhong in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab has been ravaged. Another day, another attack on Hindus in Pakistan."
Another said: "Yesterday, the mob ran amok at Temple over minor boy issue who allegedly urinated, the boy said to be mentally handicapped. Hindu community made an apology for the boy — a case registered against the nine-year-old boy. Those vandalized temples, no FIR registered against them."
District police spokesman Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said Rangers had been deployed in the troubled area and the situation was under control.
A small town close to the River Indus and Sindh-Punjab border, Bhong houses a number of gold traders who originally hail from Ghotki and Dehrki (Sindh), according to the Dawn news report.
A ruling PTI member representing the minority said he had been in touch with the local Hindu community and influential Rais family of Bhong since the issue surfaced.
OṀ KALMASHARAHITABHŨMYAI NAMAH:
OṀ (AUM) -KAL-MA-SHA-RA-HI-TA-BHOO-MYAI— NA-MA-HA
ॐ कल्मषरहितभूम्यै नमः
(Kalmasham: Tainted, blemish, dirty, sinful, wicked, foul, dosha, opprobrium, stigma; Rahita: Absent, devoid of)
Kalmasham is the opposite of purity; it means impure, contaminated and defective. The word is used in several senses such as: defective, fault, sin, dosham, tainted, vice, crime, disrespect, abuse, evil and contamination. However, it is also used in a technical sense in certain fields of knowledge. In Vedic literature we see words like pavitram, and pavitrata in the opposite sense of kalmasham. We, as Hindus, see everything as pure and equitable with God in an implied meaning that every atom at the microscopic level is part of the Supreme Power (Bhagavān). Having this knowledge and understanding, Hindus see the presence of God in living as well as non-living objects and have a pavitra meaning- kalmasharahita bandham.
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In Vedas and Purāṇās, Lord Shri Ramachandra Murty is portrayed without any defects and His marriage with Sīta was described as kalmasharahitam. He was glorified as the one who strictly observed the 'ekapatnī vratam' meaning-'one wife as a life partner'. Even when Sīta was abducted by the demon- Rāvaṇa and he kept her in his palace for a year, Rama did not look at another woman. The same credit goes to His consort and wife Sīta, who came out of Agni (pyre of fire) as a shining diamond proving her chastity and kalmasharahitam to the world. Our sacred literature is full of these incidents. Our dharmaśhāstrās explain that what is kalmasham is that which brings defection to one's purity. They advise purity in our thought, speech and actions.
God Ram and Goddess SitaGetty Pictures
There are many relationships we have as an individual. Some are pure and kalmasharahitam, as opposed to other relationships, like extramarital affairs. The relationship between husband and wife; brother and sister; father and daughter; parents and children; between siblings; teacher and student; among friends; and last but not least, between a devotee and his desired, beloved and personal god are considered kalmasharahitam.
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As a country, we have never waged war against another country with the intention of occupancy and robbing their wealth, or to convert them to our religion. We do not have that kalmasham on our hands or in our hearts.
Our land is 'Kalmasharahita Bhūmi'.