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Sri Lanka’s Catholics awoke Sunday to celebrate Mass in their homes by a televised broadcast as churches across the island nation shut over fears of militant attacks, a week after the Islamic State-claimed Easter suicide bombings killed more than 250 people.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, delivered a homily before members of the clergy and the country’s leaders in a small chapel at his Colombo residence, an extraordinary measure underlining the fear still gripping this nation of 21 million people.
“This is a time our hearts are tested by the great destruction that took place last Sunday,” Ranjith said. “This is a time questions such as, does God truly love us, does He have compassion towards us, can arise in human hearts.”
Show of unity, strength
In a rare show of unity, President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa attended the Mass. Their political rivalry and government dysfunction are blamed for a failure to act upon near-specific information received from foreign intelligence agencies that preceded the bombings that targeted three churches and three luxury hotels.
All Sri Lankan churches were asked to ring bells Sunday while the lamp lighting takes place.
The U.S. Embassy in Colombo has warned against attending any service at a place of worship this weekend.
In the eastern district of Ampara on Sunday, where a gunfight and explosions left 15 people dead the previous day, soldiers guarded St. Mary Magdalen’s Church, where a sign on the gate said the church and the school would be closed until May 6. A nearby mosque also had soldiers stationed outside.
At the YMCA, a group of young girls held Sunday school near a portrait of Christ. Sajith Liyanage, a 51-year-old Catholic, said he remained worried and would watch Mass on TV.
“We can’t understand what the situation is right now,” Liyanage said.
Country remains on edge
At Ampara’s weekly Sunday market, police officers walked explosive-sniffing dogs past ripe-yellow bananas, pineapples and coconuts. Officers also searched women’s bags and pushed aside brown fallen leaves, checking the grounds for any bombs.
N.M. Saman Bandarah, a pineapple seller, stood back as the police dog passed. He said he was glad to see the officers but said everyone remained nervous.
“There are no people coming to buy,” he said.
Islamic State claims
The Islamic State group, meanwhile, claimed three of the militants who blew themselves up during a police raid in Ampara that was linked to the Easter bombings.
In a statement carried by the extremists’ Aamaq news agency, IS identified the bombers by their noms du guerre as Abu Hammad, Abu Sufyan and Abu al-Qa’qa. It said they opened fire with automatic weapons and “after exhausting their ammunition, detonated … their explosive belts.”
Sri Lanka’s military said the gunfight Friday night near the town of Sammanthurai left 15 dead, including six children, when militants opened fire and set off explosives in suicide bombings as security forces closed in on their safe house.
Bombs made more lethal
At the main police station in Ampara, an outdoor stage now holds what police recovered after the firefight. The IS-aligned militants had created a bombmaking factory at the home, complete with laboratory-style beakers and thick rubber gloves.
Bags of fertilizer, gunpowder and small ball bearings filled boxes. Police found tens of liters (gallons) of acids, used to make the fire of the blast more lethal.
A police investigator, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to publicly comment, said the mix of acids worsened the wounds suffered by those who didn’t immediately die in the blast.
“At the hospital a lot more people died. That’s why,” he said, nodding toward the acids. “It made the wounds incurable.”
The bombers likely carried two rectangular detonators in their pockets similar to the ones recovered, the investigator said. A red switch armed the explosives, while a light teal button detonated the bombs hidden inside of their large backpacks.
Along with the acids, the bombs contained a mixture of fertilizer, gunpowder, ball bearings and explosives typically used by quarries to blast loose rocks, the investigator said. Those explosives made the bombs powerful enough to blow the roof off of St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, he said, referring to one of the churches near Colombo targeted over Easter.
The Sri Lankan navy controls the sale of the mining explosives and investigators already had begun tracing the serial numbers off of the plastic sticks, he said. A notebook contained bombmaking instructions that had apparently been explained to the writer. (VOA)
By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
Since the first tea leaf was consumed in China thousands of years ago, people have been aware of the health benefits of drinking tea and how different types of tea can help treat different illnesses. Certain teas are good for fighting cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and cholesterol, while others aid in weight loss and improving metabolism, treating mental health disorders, preventing migraines, and improving sleep patterns. Ekta Jain, CMO, Octavius Tea, shares the benefits to our physical and mental health of specific types of tea leaves:
Black Leaf Teas
Often the best choice for breaking your fast in the morning, the aroma and boldness of black leaf teas is enough to kickstart your day by giving you the necessary amount of energy. Black Tea is produced as a labour of love, with days of intense plucking, sieving, and withering in order to preserve complex flavonoids and powerful antioxidants like catechins. These leaves contain more tannins than any other type of tea which soothes stomach aches and other bowel-related problems.
Often the best choice for breaking your fast in the morning, the aroma and boldness of black leaf teas is enough to kickstart your day. | Photo by Oleg Guijinsky on Unsplash
Green Leaf Teas
Much like Black Tea, Green Tea is also harvested from the Camellia Sinensis plant but is prepared differently by first steaming, then pan-frying and drying the leaves. The biggest benefit of opting for Green Tea over other tea leaves is that it's an extreme immunity-booster due to its high flavonoid components and minimal processing which preserves all the nutrients.
As a byproduct of its immunity-boosting trait, Green Tea is a great booster for the metabolism which is why it serves as a necessary addition to your diet. Combined with an exercise regimen, Green Tea can be an excellent weight-loss tool. Though it works best before exercise, it can be consumed anytime. In addition to its focus-enhancing features, it also provides excellent oral hygiene benefits due to its catechin content. As an adaptable beverage, green tea blends well with many different flavours such as lavender, citrus, chamomile, rose, and many others.
Much like Black Tea, Green Tea is also harvested from the Camellia Sinensis plant but is prepared differently by first steaming, then pan-frying and drying the leaves. | Photo by Rashid on Unsplash
White Leaf Tea
Minimally processed and low on caffeine, White Leaf Tea contains a lot of rich antioxidants which means it is great for boosting immunity. White Tea is very delicate and sweet-tasting because it is made with carefully handpicked silver buds and young leaves that offer a mild flavour. Because it is the least processed tea out of all, it can preserve almost all its nutrients and catechins, which prevent many chronic health issues, reduce inflammation and regulate your digestive system. Dieticians and fitness experts recommend White Tea a lot as it helps curb sweet cravings and has a low-calorie count making it perfect for a healthy weight loss.
White Tea is very delicate and sweet-tasting because it is made with carefully handpicked silver buds and young leaves that offer a mild flavour. | Photo by Jen P. on Unsplash
Unlike other teas, Herbal Teas are not made using the Camellia Sinensis plant but actually use other leaves, flowers, roots, seeds, spices, fruits, and berries. Most common herbal tea varieties include mint, chamomile, cranberry and ginger. This also means that, unlike other teas, Herbal Teas are completely caffeine-free and filled with a lot of good nutrients. The components used in Herbal Tea like dried roots, leaves and flowers are packed with antioxidants and offer excellent medicinal benefits like regulating digestive systems, managing stress levels and alleviating flu or cold symptoms. They can also be great for skin health and relieving chronic pain as they are anti-inflammatory and detoxifying in nature.
Herbal Teas are completely caffeine-free and filled with a lot of good nutrients. | Photo by Lisa Hobbs on Unsplash
Matcha Green Tea
Made with finely ground young Green Tea leaves, Matcha is very high in antioxidants and offers numerous health benefits for your body and brain. Experts believe that drinking a single cup of Matcha Green Tea is equivalent to the health benefits of drinking ten cups of regular Green Tea. It is great for boosting immunity and metabolism, weight loss and detoxification of the body and mind.
Matcha is very high in antioxidants and offers numerous health benefits for your body and brain. |Photo by Lex Sirikiat on Unsplash
Partial oxidation of tea leaves gives the unique Oolong Tea its fruity and floral taste. It is extremely rich in antioxidants due to the combination of the nutrients of Black and Green Teas. This rare tea also contains high amounts of vitamins, minerals and amino acids which have great health benefits, including boosting metabolism and increasing immunity to illnesses.
Partial oxidation of tea leaves gives the unique Oolong Tea its fruity and floral taste. | Pixabay
One should stay away from supplements or preservatives in "diet" teas, as none of their claims are backed by research. There are many different types of natural tea leaves, so it's important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type and choose the one that serves you best. There are many options and benefits to choosing from when it comes to tea leaves, whether you desire a cure for chronic disease, weight loss, or a good-tasting beverage. However, you can never really go wrong with natural tea leaves no matter what variety you choose!
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: antioxidants, antioxidants, herbal, herbal, benefits, health, leaves, leaves
One of Indi's leading luxurious Ayurveda skincare brands, Forest Essentials, announces its international foray with the London based Lookfantastic.com, Euroe's premium online beauty retailer. The partnership enables the brand to take significant strides towards its expansion globally starting with the launch in the United Kingdom. "Our focus and USP at Forest Essentials has always been at delivering high quality Ayurvedic products in a sustainable way, with a global appeal.
We firmly believe that the time is right for Forest Essentials to expand to the UK, as our first international footprint with Lookfantastic,' Europe's premium online beauty retailer. "The UK audience is well aware of Ayurveda and we are certain that the demand for our Made in India luxurious Ayurveda products, is going to continue to grow multifold, as consumers are today looking for moments of self-care, to feel better in this stressful period and we are well positioned to support this type of feel-good indulgence that consumers are seeking today," says Samrath Bedi, Executive Director, Forest Essentials. The brand's iconic product ranges, across skincare, body care and haircare will be available for purchase in the UK, including the Soundarya collection, crafted with 24k gold.
The brand's iconic product ranges, across skincare, body care and haircare will be available for purchase in the UK, including the Soundarya collection, crafted with 24k gold. | Wikimedia Commons
The brand's iconic product ranges, across skincare, body care and haircare will be available for purchase in the UK, including the Soundarya collection, crafted with 24k gold. Additional collections offered include the Men's Collection, Madurai Jasmine and Mogra, Green Tea and Oudh, and Nargis, Indian Rose Ab'olute. The brand's vast gifting options are also available via the e-retailer. A portfolio of over 660 premium brands onsite and revenue share grown 40 percent year on year in the last 4 year makes,
Lookfantastic is one of the most successful beauty websites globally. Unrivalled technology, a team of world-class experts, over 30 localized sites in as many languages enables the website to attract millions of visits per month with nearly 71 percent of them being international making it a natural choice as a retail overseas partner for Forest Essentials. Commenting on the announcement, Bedi added, "Ayurveda has gained acceptance globally and there is an increased need to explore authentic products that are not only luxurious but also high on efficacy. Forest Essentials has been a pioneer in every sense and we're confident that our foray into the UK will enable us to represent India and products Made in India successfully in the international market." (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Ayurveda, Skincare, Forest, Herbal, Body care, Hair care, Beauty Products
Khadi is no longer a dull, drab fabric meant only for politicians' wardrobes. A fashion show organised by the Khadi Gramodyog Board as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to mark the 75th year of India's Independence showcased the use of Khadi in traditional, as well as, contemporary and festive wear. From lehengas in resplendent Khadi silk to western clothes and casual wear, the models on Thursday night displayed new facts of the fabric.
Several well-known Indian designers including Ritu Beri, Farah Ansari, Rina Dhaka, Asma Husain, Aditi Rastogi and Himmat Singh showcased their designs. Gaurav Gaur directed the fashion show with clothes like lehengas, kurtis, kurta pajamas and partywear.
Lucknow's chikankari and silk artisans also participated in the event. A wedding collection in Khadi was the highlight of the show. "The show was based on the concept 'Khadi for nation, Khadi for fashion' and the fabric for all costumes was provided by Khadi Gramodyog Board," said a spokesman. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: lucknow, clothes, lehengas, fashion, fabric
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