Saudi national cultural festival honours India, is biggest in Gulf

Al Janadria, the national cultural festival of Saudi Arabia that has India as the 'Guest of Honour' country this year, is being inaugurated on Wednesday near here by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The festival was begun in 1985 under the patronage of the ruling monarch. This year too King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is the patron of the festival, the biggest cultural festival of the Gulf that brings to life the culture and heritage of the oil-rich desert kingdom of 32 million people. From the rich tapestry of colours, aroma of delicacies, reverberating sound of music to insightful intellectual debates, the two-week long festival has something for all. 2018 marks the 32nd edition of the festival. Organised every year by the Saudi National Guard, a primary goal of this festival is to highlight Saudi Arabia's Islamic identity, display its national heritage and help preserve it for generations to come. However, Al Janadria is not only aiming to educate i..

F&N launches reverse vending machine to encourage recycling

SINGAPORE: Instead of dispensing items, this vending machine accepts them. Food and beverage company Fraser and Neave (F&N) paired up with NTUC FairPrice to launch its first reverse vending machine at Waterway Point on Tuesday (Jan 9). It works by accepting used cans and bottles and uses "advanced technology to identify, sort and collect" the containers. For every five used containers they recycle, users of the machine will be given a S$0.50 voucher to purchase F&N's Ice Mountain water at FairPrice supermarkets. In a news release, F&N said its recycling programme aims to offer Singaporeans a convenient way of recycling used cans and bottles with the help of the machine. More reverse vending machines will soon be installed at Yew Tee Point and Bukit Merah Central's FairPrice outlets. AdvertisementAdvertisement"With the launch of this initiative, F&N reinforces our commitment to play our part in protecting the environment by ensuring that our packaging is environmentally frien..

Uyghur Detainees Secretly Transferred to Prisons in Henan Province: Officials

Uyghur detainees from internment camps in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are being secretly transferred to prisons in Henan province, in addition to other parts of the country, according to sources. In October last year, RFA’s Uyghur Service reported that authorities in the XUAR had begun covertly sending detainees to prisons in Heilongjiang province and other parts of China to address an “overflow” in overcrowded cam..

Trial Date Set For Kazakh Activist Who Blew Whistle on China’s Mass Detention Camps

Authorities in Kazakhstan have set a date for the trial of rights activist Serikzhan Bilash, whose group Atajurt works to release ethnic Kazakhs from mass "re-education" camps in China's Xinjiang. Bilash, who has been under house arrest since his initial detention five months ago, will stand trial at a court in the Kazakh city of Nursultan at 11:30 a.m. local time on Monday, RFA has learned. Bilash had been a vocal campaigner for the release..

'India Remixed': IU launches second Global Arts and Humanities Festival

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Beginning in February, IU Bloomington will host the largest Indian arts and culture festival ever mounted in the Midwest when it kicks off its second Global Arts and Humanities Festival. The 2018 festival, "India Remixed: A Global Arts and Humanities Festival," is sponsored by the IU Bloomington Arts and Humanities Council with support from various units and departments across campus. Most of the more than 30 events -- which include exhibits, performances and films -- are free and open to the public. "Indiana University has a rich history of friendship and partnership with individuals and universities in India," said IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel. "We have a thriving gateway office in India, and many of our faculty and students come to us from India. 'India Remixed' invites the Bloomington campus and community to celebrate India's contemporary cultural and humanistic contributions in areas including film, literature..

A Lavish Bollywood Musical Is Fueling A Culture War In India

Enlarge this image A cyclist rides past a poster of the controversial film Padmaavat in Bangalore on Thursday. Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images Padmaavat, India's first 3-D IMAX spectacle, is a lavish, operatic Bollywood musical set in the 14th-century palaces and deserts of Rajasthan. It has elephant processions, kaleidoscopic tableaus of Indian palaces and gorgeous actors in bejeweled costumes. It was directed by one of India's most celebrated filmmakers, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and stars one of the country's most popular actresses, Deepika Padukone. The film opens in India on Thursday, but from the moment it went into production, it's been plagued by violent protests over its depiction of Padukone's character, Queen Padmavati, a legendary Hindu royal. "It's a historic film," Padukone told NPR in 2017. "And the character that I play is someone who, historically, there's a certain section of..

Vietnamese Lawyers Petition Government Leaders in Case of Abducted RFA Blogger

More than 50 lawyers in Vietnam signed a petition this week calling on authorities to protect the legal rights of a lawyer accused of tax evasion after agreeing to defend a dissident blogger abducted in Thailand in January and brought back to Vietnam by force. Key documents in the case of the blogger, RFA contributor Truong Duy Nhat, were seized earlier this month when police raided the office of his attorney Tran Vu Hai, who has defended clients..

Commentary: Indonesia's anti-corruption drive needs a reality check

JAKARTA: With the shocking revelation around the Keppel scandal, questions have arisen why such practices persist after decades of anti-corruption movements globally, including in Indonesia, one of Singapore’s closest neighbours. A local news report in Singapore also asked on Sunday (Jan 7) if a culture of corruption in Indonesia is contributing to Singapore businesses resorting to bribery or turning a blind eye when local partners engage in such practices. When it comes to fighting corruption, it seems Indonesia can catch no break. Efforts have been relentless. The slogan of KKN (corruption, collusion and nepotism) has been ringing hard for Indonesians since the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998. In 2003, Indonesia established the Anti-corruption Commission (KPK). But the Commission has since continuously received resistance, particularly from House members looking to revise the law to curtail its powers. Corruption remains a challenge. Hardly a day goes by without corruption cases m..

What are cultural rights?

Written by Sonakshi Awasthi | New Delhi | Published: December 15, 2017 3:12 pm Jallikattu is a traditional sport where a bull is released in the crowd and people have to grab the hump of the bull in order to tame the animal. (A work from the series, Jallikattu; Elanchezhiyan Pichaikannu)Earlier this week, the Supreme Court reserved its judgment on Jallikattu, the bullock cart racing conducted in Tamil Nadu, and pointed out the importance of questions put by the petitioner. One of the questions was whether Jallikattu can be a cultural right. While the court will clarify if the race could be termed as a cultural right, it is pertinent to understand what a cultural right is. Jallikattu is a traditional sport played in Tamil Nadu, where a bull is released in the crowd and people have to grab the hump of the bull in order to tame the animal. The Indian Constitution does not state a black and white definition of a cultural right. However, Article 29 sta..

Seven Wonders of Kazakhstan: Why Fashion Tourism Is Booming in Central Asia

2017 World EXPO host and new luxury marketplace. It now has set an ambitious goal of raising tourism’s GDP share up to eight percent within a decade. This figure is comparable to the latest stats for the Persian Gulf region boosted by business travel and the popular resort nation of Dominican Republic. From the Altai Mountains, home to some 600 sacred sites, to the remnants of the Great Silk Road, to the Caspian Sea waterfront, and affordable luxury goods… Kazakhstan has many things to offer to the most discerning of travelers. With about 25,000 Americans discovering Kazakhstan every year, this is a real opportunity to experience an authentic place before the crowds gather at this ancient crossroad of cultures. Here are seven must-see places to check off your Kazakhstan bucket list.THE BAYTEREK TOWER CourtesyBayterek Tower Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital city, boasts fine examples of contemporary architecture. Bayterek Tower, without a doubt, serves as the young nation’s symbol. Conceptua..

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