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New York to host 24-hour long Indian Ragas Live Festival

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New York: A unique 24-hour Indian classical music marathon, the Ragas Live Festival, with a multi-national and multi-ethnic cast of over 60 musicians is set to be broadcast this weekend in New York and streamed live on the Internet for listeners around the world.

It is billed as longest broadcast of Indian classical music performed live.

“From what I understand, even in India, they have not produced in-studio broadcasts on this scale,” Executive Producer David Ellenbogen said.

This is the fourth Raga Festival and this year it will add a six-and-a-half-hour free concert at the Central Park on Sunday, which is the day of the Summer Solstice.

Sunday is also International Day of Yoga when there will be a yoga session in Times Square with the expected participation of 30,000 people. The Raga Festival is not a part of that program, but it also reflects the growing interest in Indian culture here.

“We are experiencing a raga renaissance in New York City,” Ellenbogen said.

“There are so many amazing musicians collaborating within and beyond the genre. This festival is a result of that and has gained a growing international audience.”

The festival is a collaboration between Columbia University radio station WKCR 89.9 FM-NY and 13 other organisations.

The marathon will be streamed live on www.wkcr.org and it will be archived at the station’s website and at www.nycradiolive.org for listeners to hear it later.

A vocal by Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan will start the marathon broadcast, at 11:59 p.m. Friday night New York Time (Saturday, 9:29 a.m. IST) and will end at midnight Saturday (Sunday, 9:30 a.m. IST) with a vocal by Pandita Tripti Mukherjee.

Among the featured musicians are Ustad Aashish Khan, Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumdar, Pandit Krishna Bhatt, Sanghamitra Chatterjee, and Pandit Samir Chatterjee.

Besides Hindustani and Carnatic classical music, the new genres and the collaboration across traditions that are emerging in New York will be represented at the festival.

Yacouba Sissoko from Mali who plays the kora, a 21-string instrument from West Africa, is to perform with Jay Gandhi on the bansuri and Ellenbogen on the guitar. Sissko and Bansuri perform at the monthly Africa/India Collaboration concerts produced at Brooklyn Raga Massive events.

Carnatic compositions in jazz interpretations by Arun Ramamurthy Trio (ART) and Chamber Raga form by Karavika are also on the programme. (IANS)

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New York City’s Mandatory Measles Vaccination Order Stands Still

The health department's lawyers argued that quarantining was ineffective because people carrying the virus can be contagious before symptoms appear.

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Materials are seen left at demonstration by people opposed to childhood vaccination after officials in Rockland County, a New York City suburb, banned children not vaccinated against measles from public spaces. VOA

Brooklyn judge on Thursday ruled against a group of parents who challenged New York City’s recently imposed mandatory measles vaccination order, rejecting their arguments that the city’s public health authority exceeded its authority.

In a six-page decision rendered hours after a hearing on the matter, Judge Lawrence Knipel denied the parents’ petition seeking to lift the vaccination order, imposed last week to stem the worst measles outbreak to hit the city since 1991.

The judge sided with municipal health officials who defended the order as a rare but necessary step to contain a surge in the highly contagious disease that has infected at least 329 people so far, most of them children from Orthodox Jewish communities in the borough of Brooklyn.

Another 222 cases have been diagnosed elsewhere in New York state, mostly in a predominantly ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Rockland County, northwest of Manhattan.

The New York outbreaks are part of a larger resurgence of measles across the country, with at least 555 cases confirmed in 20 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health experts say the virus, which can cause severe complications and even death, has spread mostly among school-age children whose parents declined to get them vaccinated. Most profess philosophical or religious reasons, or cite concerns — debunked by medical science — that the three-way measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine may cause autism.

The judge rejected the parents’ contention that the vaccination order was excessive or coercive, noting it does not call for forcibly administering the vaccine to those who refuse it.

He also dismissed assertions in the petition disputing the “clear and present danger” of the outbreak. “Vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contagion,” the judge said.

FILE PHOTO: A sign warning people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg in New York City, April 11, 2019.
A sign warning people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg in New York City, April 11, 2019. VOA

Secret identities

The vaccination order, which was extended this week, requires residents of certain affected Brooklyn neighborhoods to obtain the MMR vaccine unless they can otherwise demonstrate immunity to measles, or face a fine.

The court challenge was brought in Brooklyn’s Supreme Court by five people identified only as parents living in the affected neighborhoods. Their identities were kept confidential to protect their children’s’ privacy, their lawyers said.

In court on Thursday, they told Knipel the city had overstepped its authority and that quarantining the infected would be a preferable approach.

Robert Krakow, an attorney for the parents, estimated that just 0.0006 percent of the population of Brooklyn and Queens had measles. “That’s not an epidemic,” he said. “It’s not Ebola. It’s not smallpox.”

The health department’s lawyers argued that quarantining was ineffective because people carrying the virus can be contagious before symptoms appear.

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The vaccination order, which was extended this week, requires residents of certain affected Brooklyn neighborhoods to obtain the MMR vaccine unless they can otherwise demonstrate immunity to measles, or face a fine. Pixabay

The judge cited 39 cases diagnosed in Michigan that have been traced to an individual traveling from the Williamsburg community at the epicenter of Brooklyn’s outbreak.

Also Read: Short-Circuit Likely The Cause of Notre Dame Fire, Claims Police Investigators

The surge in measles there originated with an unvaccinated child who became infected on a visit to Israel, where the highly contagious virus is also running rampant.

The number of measles cases worldwide nearly quadrupled in the first quarter of 2019 to 112,163 compared with the same period last year, the World Health Organization said this week. (VOA)