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Artillery shelling could be heard on Sunday coming from southern outskirts of the capital, where the LNA has been tying to breach defenses by Tripoli forces. VOA

Palestinian officials say a cease-fire with Israel has been agreed to by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The Reuters news agency reports the agreement, reached with the help of Egyptian mediation, was to take effect at 01:30 UTC.

An exchange of rocket fire and airstrikes has killed four Israeli civilians and at least 20 Palestinians since Friday. These are the first Israeli civilian deaths from cross-border fighting since 2014.

President Donald Trump says the United States supports Israel 100% as it defends its citizens from Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza. “To the Gazan people — these terrorist acts against Israel will bring you nothing but more misery. End the violence and work toward peace — it can happen,” Trump tweeted Sunday.

Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in Gaza, May 5, 2019. VOA

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the army to keep up “massive strikes” against Hamas targets in Gaza in the deadliest fighting along the border in five years. Palestinian deaths include a 14-month-old baby and her aunt killed by what Hamas calls an Israeli strike. Israeli intelligence says a misfired Palestinian rocket killed them. Neither claim could be verified.

Palestinian militants have shot more than 600 rockets and other missiles into Israel since Friday. Israel says the smaller military group Islamic Jihad fired the rockets, but it holds Hamas, which controls Gaza, responsible. The Israeli military says it retaliated with airstrikes on more than 260 Hamas targets inside Gaza.

An Israeli airstrike also killed a Hamas commander, who Israel says was responsible for funneling money from Iran to the militants. The current fighting was apparently sparked when an Islamic Jihad sniper wounded two Israeli soldiers Friday.

The Palestinians accuse Israel of failing to implement an Egyptian-brokered agreement to ease its blockade of Gaza in exchange for a halt in rocket attacks.

President Donald Trump says the United States supports Israel 100% as it defends its citizens from Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza. VOA

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh issued a statement late Sunday saying his militant group is “not interested in a new war” and says he is ready “to return to the state of calm” if Israel “immediately starts implementing understandings about a dignified life.”

ALSO READ: Fasting During Ramadan is ‘Challenging’ in Non-Muslim Countries

Israeli analyst Neri Zibler told I24 News that Netanyahu does not want a war with Hamas either. “The greater good is to avoid needless wars. A war that you get into, you do not know how you will get out of it. A war that you go into and will most likely reach a conclusion and bring us back to the exact point we are in at the moment,” he said.

A 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in 2014 killed more than 2,200 Palestinians and left entire neighborhoods in ruins. The latest fighting comes on the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and as Israel gets ready for Independence Day celebrations later this week. Israel also hosts the eagerly awaited annual Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv later this month. (VOA)


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Yakshi statue by Kanayi Kunjiraman at Malampuzha garden, Kerala

Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.

The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.

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Ancient India not only made mentions of homosexuality but accepted it as well.

The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others. In India LGBTQ+ community also include a specific social group, part religious cult, and part caste: the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as "neither men nor women" or as men who become women by adopting women's dress and behavior. Section 377 of the India Penal code that criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature" i.e. engaging in oral sex or anal sex along with other homosexual activities were against the law, ripping homosexual people off of their basic human rights. Thus, the Indian Supreme Court ruled a portion of Section 377 unconstitutional on 6th September 2018.

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A stamp depicting the Mysore peta

The Mysore kingdom became a popular tourist destination after India became an independent country. The Wodeyar dynasty who succeeded Tipu Sultan are still royalty, but they do not rule the state. Their heritage and culture have become what Karnataka is famous for.

Among the many things that Mysore offers to the state of Karnataka, the Mysore Peta is one. In north India, various cultures have their own headgears. They wear their traditional outfits on the days of festivities and ceremonies. Likewise, in the south, especially in Karnataka, the Mysore Peta is worn.

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