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Flood in Tbilisi, zoo animals on the loose

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Tbilisi: Eight people were killed as floodwaters ravaged the Georgia capital on Sunday, media reports said. About half of the city zoo’s 600 animals, including wolves, bears and big cats, went missing, while a crocodile and a hippopotamus were seen roaming about on the streets.

Two employees of the zoo were among those dead.

Citing news agency civil.ge, CNN said raging floodwaters damaged the zoo and set many of the animals free.

Videos showed a crocodile slithering down the city streets, and a hippopotamus “standing around looking confused”, the report said.

The Tbilisi zoo authorities said of the zoo’s 600 residents, including fish and birds, about half were missing on Sunday. Some animals have been recaptured.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili asked people to stay at home while the animals are rounded up.

The ministry of internal affairs also urged everyone to stay indoors but said in a statement that the situation was “under full control”, CNN reported.

Heavy rainfall before Saturday midnight flooded the Vere river, that runs through the centre of Tbilisi, the media report said.

The river flooded many parts of a highway, swept away cars and flooded many homes.

The CNN report said images on Tbilisi City Hall’s Facebook page showed roads washed out, hillsides collapsed and vehicles tossed about like toys.

Rescue workers carried people on their shoulders through waist-high water.

A police helicopter evacuated 16 people from Akhaldaba, near Tbilisi, where heavy rain damaged roads. (IANS)

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Lilburn in US likely to make Hindu Temple centre of Commercial District

The temple was opened in 2007 and since then the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir has drawn 1.8 million visitors

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Lilburn Hindu temple BAPS. Image source: Chodavaramnet.blogspot.com

Lilburn, Georgia, August 26, 2016: Officials in Lilburn, hope to restructure the commercial area surrounding a Hindu temple, as it has become one of Gwinnett County’s top tourist destinations in Georgia, US.

The temple was opened in 2007 and since then the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir has drawn 1.8 million visitors. Located at the intersection of Lawrenceville Highway and Rockbridge Road, the members of Lilburn Community Improvement District is looking for a plan to benefit from the mandir’s presence. Few ideas they have zeroed in- by improving the area’s pedestrian access, curb appeal as well as retail offerings, to increase visitors or tourists.

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 Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Logo. Image source: Twitter
Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Logo. Image source: Twitter

The footfall at the temple has been ever growing, so much so that this place of worship has turned into one the top tourist destination in the county owing to the serene beauty, calm and marvellous architecture of the temple; which has prompted the officials to revitalize the area around the temple to capitalize on the tremendous popularity of the temple amongst people from all ethnicities and backgrounds, of which Asian Indians are the most frequent visitors.

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Map of Lilburn, Georgia. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Map of Lilburn, Georgia. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Festivals like Diwali, Hindu New Year etc are celebrated with great fervour in the temple by the 8% Asian Indians living in the small county that consists of 12,162 citizens.

“We see it as a place of worship; it also contributes artistically, spiritually, culturally to the Gwinnett landscape,” said Jigar Patel, the spokesperson.

The county officials intent to completely rejuvenate the area surrounding the temple to provide facilities to the devotees and visitors, as well as improve the county’s economic condition.

“We see the mandir as one of the main focal points in Gwinnett County” remarked Emory Morsberger, executive director of the community’s improvement district, “It’s a draw for high-income ,well-educated people.”

The projects lined up mainly focus on the beautification of the area surrounding the temple, as well as improving the housing stock of the locality. Suitable retail shops and improvement of the pedestrian are some other tasks with are high on the list.

This step was welcomed by the entire Asian Indian community. “we have great expectations” said Jigar patel “we think the community will benefit from it.”

– by Usman Zafar of NewsGram. Twitter: @HalkiSiChuban

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