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Musical performances were not limited to the half-dozen stages at the folk festival at Glen Echo Park. VOA
  • Musicians offered a variety of folk music while visitors of all ages sang or clapped along. A few couples danced to the beat along the park’s many pathways
  • There were also handmade soaps, handcrafted instruments, and clay flowers that looked uncannily like the real things
  • The annual folk festival — which represents at least 25 countries every year — is just one of many events coordinated by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington

GLEN ECHO, MARYLAND, June 29, 2017: You could hear the music long before you reached Glen Echo Park, where Washington, D.C., area residents were celebrating the arts on a sunny weekend day.

Music, dancing, storytelling, and crafts were just a few of the activities at the 37th annual Glen Echo Folk Festival, which showcased the diverse traditions and cultures that make up the Washington metropolitan area.

Crafts on display included beadwork, glassware, prints, dolls and pottery. VOA

Something for everyone

Musicians offered a variety of folk music while visitors of all ages sang or clapped along. A few couples danced to the beat along the park’s many pathways.

ALSO READ: If you are a Foodie, Check out the Best Food Festivals in the World!

Six-year-old Benjamin Pardo was curious about the mushrooms that potter Raymond Paul Mihm was creating out of clay. He showed off his knowledge about mushrooms by asking the artist if the hand-made objects were poisonous, and even compared them to some popular cartoon characters.

“They look like Smurfs,” he called out. “They all look different.”

Festival Spotlights Folk Traditions in Crafts, Music and Dance

There were also handmade soaps, handcrafted instruments, and clay flowers that looked uncannily like the real things.

Cultural treasures

Glen Echo Park is an arts and cultural center located in Glen Echo, Maryland. It was developed in 1891 as a National Chautauqua Assembly, then a popular adult education movement in the United States that emphasized the sciences, arts, languages and literature.

A trolley brought visitors to Glen Echo Amusement Park in the 1930s. VOA

By the early 1900s, the site had become Glen Echo Amusement Park, featuring rides and attractions. The National Park Service took over Glen Echo in 1971, and has carried on the original mission to welcome different arts and cultures. The park hosts various arts and dance programs for children and adults throughout the year.

Bringing Washington its own music

The annual folk festival — which represents at least 25 countries every year — is just one of many events coordinated by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. Mia Gardiner is one of its three founders.

“When Debbie Hutton, Jonathan Eberhart and I thought of the idea of having a traditional music festival that featured only performers who lived in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area (which includes Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland), the purpose was to present and share the incredible amount of wonderful traditional music that could be found among our ‘neighbors’ who come from all over the world and are living in the D.C. metropolitan area,” she said. “Our theme was ‘Bringing Washington Its Own Music.’”

Performances on the festival stages included Scottish bagpipes, flamenco, salsa, Slovakian flutes and ‘old-timey’ American music. VOA

“The concept, philosophy, and performance content of the festival, as well as the ‘lay of the land’, fit the Chautauqua concept of presenting the arts in the park perfectly then, and now,” she added.

Festival organizer Dwain Winters agrees.

“Because Washington is both the nation’s capital and the world’s capital, we’re blessed with having these people from all over the country, and all over the world, to bring with them their cultural traditions and perform them for us.”

In addition to arts and entertainment, the park offers other attractions as well.

The Glen Echo “menagerie” carousel is made up of 40 horses, 4 rabbits, 4 ostriches, a giraffe, a deer, a lion, and a tiger, which stand in three concentric rings. VOA

Six-year old Sophia Panchal enjoyed riding the historic 97-year-old Dentzel carousel, and cooled off with a refreshing Sno-cone afterwards. “It was good,” she proclaimed, as she happily slurped her cherry-flavored treat.

Visitors like Sophia have enjoyed what Glen Echo Park has had to offer for the past 120 years. (VOA)


Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Char Dham Yatra resumed on Friday with more than 16,000 devotees resuming the pilgrimage from the Rishikesh camp.

As weather cleared up in Uttarakhand, Char Dham Yatra restored on Friday with more than 16,000 devotees resuming the pilgrimage from the Rishikesh camp.

According to sources, road leading to Badrinath has been repaired and helicopter service has also resumed.

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited Dungi village and met families of people who were missing after the landslip incident, and consoled them.

Dhami assured them of all possible assistance. Two people from the village are still reported to be missing.

Pilgrims were seen leaving from Rishikesh Char Dham Bus terminal and Haridwar bus station for the pilgrimage since morning.

As per the state government, various departments -- Devasthanam Board, police are assisting the pilgrims.

Police Chowki Yatra Bus Terminal, Rishikesh, was announcing passenger-information via loudspeaker.

Free RT-PCR tests of pilgrims were being conducted at Rishikesh bus terminal.

Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board's media in-charge Dr Harish Gaur said pilgrimage was on in Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, while for Kedarnath, helicopter service was also available.

Though the weather was cold in all dhams, thankfully there was no rain, he added.

Portals of the temple in Badrinath will close on November 20, Gangotri on November 5, while that of Kedarnath and Yamunotri on November 6.

Uttarakhand floods, triggered by a major downpour from October 17 to 19, have claimed 65 lives so far, 3,500 people have been rescued while 16,000 evacuated to safety.

Seventeen teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), seven teams of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), 15 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and 5,000 police personnel have been engaged in rescue and relief operations.

The state has already been provided with Rs 250 crore Disaster Fund which is being used for relief works.

To prevent spread of the diseases, the Central and state governments have decided to send medical teams to the affected areas.

Snapped power lines will be restored at the earliest, the government assured.

The state government said that as soon as alert for heavy rainfall was issued, the Incident Response System was activated at state and district levels, and pilgrims were halted at safer places. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Uttarakhand, India, Char Dham Yatra, PushkarDhami, Rishikesh.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Naga leaders are adamant in their main demands for a separate Constitution and flag.

The Centre has continued the Naga peace talks with the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) leaders, but negotiations face roadblocks as the Naga leaders are adamant in their main demands for a separate Constitution and flag.

The sources aware of these developments said that the Centre was hopeful that a successful solution of the six decades-long peace talks would arrive at a logical conclusion, but in the recent statements, Naga leaders have accused the Centre of offering post-solution options.

Sources quoting the stand of Naga leaders said that NSCN's stand was loud and clear that it would not follow the forbidden route to the Naga solution that was linked to foregoing the Naga national flag and Constitution, which is the face of the Naga political struggle and identity.

The Naga leaders have also said that the Centre has been using divisive policy and flattery in the name of finding the Naga political solution when the matters heated up.

When the Centre resumed the peace process in September this year and sent the former special director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) A.K. Mishra as the Ministry of Home Affairs' emissary to the rebel outfit's chief negotiator and general secretary T. Muivah, he assured him (Muivah) that the peace talks would be initiated under the original framework signed in 2015, a source in the Naga rebel group said.

"Here we are talking about the Naga national flag and Yehzabo (Constitution), the two issues that are holding up the Naga solution under the ongoing Indo-Naga political talks in Delhi.

"The chequered history of the Indo-Naga political issue is clear enough before us, with accords and agreements that were never meant to be implemented in letter and spirit", an important office-bearer of the rebel outfit said while criticizing the governments' stand.

Accusing the Centre, he further accused the Centre of persuading the Naga people again to accept whatever is being offered to hurry up the Naga talks.

On the invitation of the Centre, the senior leaders of the NSCN-IM including T. Muivah arrived in the national capital on October 6 this year to hold another round of talks with the Centre.

Both, the Centre and the Naga leaders had indicated their keenness on resolving this long pending issue by the end of this year in an amicable manner.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, who is also chairman of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had been actively involved in the resumption of the peace talks and taking it forward to a logical conclusion.

Soon after the transfer of Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi, who was appointed as the Centre's interlocutor for the Naga peace talks on August 29, 2014, to Tamil Nadu, the peace talks resumed on September 20 in Kohima when the Centre representative met the Naga leaders and invited them to visit Delhi for further rounds of peace talks.

The NSCN-IM and the other outfits entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India in 1997 and over 80 rounds of negotiations with the Centre have been held in the past in successive governments. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Nagaland, India, Constitution, Politics, Flag.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

India-England test series will now be played next year from July 1 at Edgbaston Stadium

The series decider for the Test series between England and India will now be played at Edgbaston from July 1 next year, said the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday. India is currently leading the series 2-1 before the fifth Test at Old Trafford was cancelled hours before the start due to concerns over COVID-19 outbreak in the tourists' camp.

"The fifth match of the LV= Insurance Test Series between England Men and India Men has been rescheduled and will now take place in July 2022. The match, which was due to take place last month at Emirates Old Trafford, was called off when India were unable to field a team due to fears of a further increase in the number of Covid-19 cases inside the camp," said an ECB statement.

"With India leading the series 2-1, the concluding fifth match will now take place from July 1, 2022, at Edgbaston, following an agreement between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)," added the statement.

ECB also said that due to the rescheduled Test, the white-ball series between England and India will now start six days later than originally planned. The T20I series will begin on July 7 at Ageas Bowl with Edgbaston and Trent Bridge hosting the second and third matches respectively on July 9 and 10. It will be followed by the ODI series starting on July 12 at The Oval followed by Lord's and Old Trafford hosting the second and third ODI on July 14 and 17 respectively.

"Ticket holders do not have to take any action as all tickets will remain valid for the equivalent rearranged matchday at their host venue. Host venues will communicate the new fixture details to ticket purchasers and the options available to them, including the timeframe for requesting a refund if they are not able to attend the new match day," further said the statement.

"We are very pleased that we have reached an agreement with BCCI to creating a fitting end to what has been a brilliant series so far. I'm very grateful to all the venues involved for the cooperation they've shown in allowing us to reschedule this match. I'd also like to thank Cricket South Africa for their support and understanding to allow these changes to be possible," said Tom Harrison, the CEO of the ECB.

"We would like to apologise again to fans for the disruption and disappointment of September events. We know it was a day that so many had planned long in advance. We recognise that accommodating this extra match means a tighter schedule for the white ball series. We will continue to manage our players' welfare and workloads through next year while we also continue to seek the optimum schedule for fans, players and our partners across the game."

"I am delighted that the England-India Test series will now have its rightful conclusion. The four Test matches were riveting, and we needed a fitting finale. The BCCI recognizes and respects the traditional form of the game and is also mindful of its role and obligations towards fellow Board Members. In the last two months, both BCCI and the ECB have been engaged in discussions and our efforts were aimed at finding a suitable window. I thank the ECB for their understanding and patience in finding an amicable solution," said BCCI Secretary Jay Shah. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: India, Britain, BCCI, Test Match, Cricket.