Groups hope to stop animal sacrifices during Nepal festival

During the 15-day Dasain festival that began this week in the Himalayan country, families fly kites, host feasts and visit temples, where tens of thousands of goats, buffaloes, chickens and ducks are sacrificed to please the gods and goddesses as part of a practice that dates back centuries.

Animal rights groups are hoping to stop —or at least reduce— the slaughter, using this year's campaign as a practice run to combat a much larger animal sacrifice set for next year at the quinquennial Gadhimai festival.

Such a campaign is novel in Nepal, where four out of five people are Hindu and animal sacrifice is a deeply rooted tradition.

Images of carcasses piled up on an open field were widely published and broadcast. Though there are no official data, fewer animals were believed to have been sacrificed at the subsequent Gadhimai festival in 2014, according to rights group Animal Nepal.

The number of buffalo sacrifices alone dropped from 20,000 in 2009 to 3,000 in 2014, said campaigner Pramada Shah.

"We are very few campaigners but we have a very loud voice. We are a loud minority," Shah said.

Shah and other campaigners are visiting temples where animals are slaughtered and where devotees line up around the blood-soaked floors, offering the blood to the temples' idols.

They are hanging banners and distributing pamphlets denouncing the practice and speaking to devotees, hoping to persuade them to take the animals they've purchased for sacrifice to animal sanctuaries instead.

At the Bhandrakali temple in the heart of Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, priests and volunteers prepared for the estimated 100,000 devotees expected to visit during the festival. It is one of the main sites for animal sacrifices.

One of the priests, Anuj Pujari, said that while the number of devotees had increased, there appeared to be fewer animals brought for sacrifice.

"It is because more and more people are now against" it, he said.

Truckloads of goats were brought in from other parts of Nepal and neighboring India to Kathmandu's goat market.

Chandra Pokhrel, who has been selling goats for the last two decades, said sales for this year's Dasain festival were down compared to previous years.

Krishna Prasad Dhangal, a shopkeeper and devotee who was at the market to purchase animals for sacrifice, defended the practice.

"It is a tradition that our fathers and grandfathers have followed and we will continue to follow this path. We believe offering the blood to the goddess Kali will please her and bless us. The meat is not wasted and we distribute it with neighbors and we all feast," he said.

 

October 12, 2018

Sources: ABC News

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It is a problem.' </p><p>Slovakian premier Peter Pellegrini said: 'I think we will receive information that there is no deal and I think we should do the maximum to the last day to try to have an agreement. </p><p>'But the 27 should be prepared also for a no-deal result and I think maybe we will finish like that. </p><p>'My hope was that today we would have already some concrete solution on the table but it looks like there will not be a deal today.' </p><p>French President Emmanuel Macron said he came to Brussels with a message of both 'confidence and urgency'. </p><p>'Confidence because progress has been made and we see a collective will to move forwards, but we are not there yet and now it is time to decide,' he said. </p><p>'I believe there is urgency to reach a withdrawal agreement, which is indispensible, and to look forward to our future relationship.' </p><p>Mr Macron said: 'Lots of things have been done, but we must now accelerate the work. I have trust in Michel Barnier and his team who have done remarkable work.' </p><p>Mrs Merkel said she was determined to 'do everything' to get a deal. </p><p>Mr Barnier warned that 'much more time' was needed to try to strike an agreement. </p><p>'Brexit must be orderly, for everyone and for all the issues, including on the island of Island,' he said.</p><p>'So we need time, we need much time, much more time, and we will continue to work in the next weeks calmly and patiently, calmly and patiently.' </p><p>MPs have voiced anger after the government argued the Brexit divorce deal must be either accepted or rejected by MPs.</p><p>Remainers and Brexiteers have been plotting to try and sway the process their way by changing the final agreement.</p><p>But ministers have now suggested amendments to the final package will not be possible.</p><p>In a memo to a Commons committee, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said: 'Once the deal is presented to parliament, the procedure through which it is voted upon must allow for an unequivocal decision, and one which is clear to the British public.'</p><p>The government blueprint suggests the motion will be amendable.</p><p>But the amendments might only be taken if the main motion itself passes - reducing the scope of MPs to make meaningful changes.</p><p>The draft no-deal law published by the French government yesterday warns checks on goods at the borders could cause huge disruption.</p><p>The document says: 'In the event of withdrawal from the United Kingdom without agreement, British nationals who enjoy the right of free movement and free establishment throughout the European Union, as well as members of their family, will become nationals of third parties and will therefore in principle be subject to common law, that is to say to the requirement to present a visa to enter the French territory and to justify a residence permit to stay there.</p><p>'In case of withdrawal from the United Kingdom of the European Union without agreement, British nationals currently residing in France and their family members would be staying illegally.'</p><p>Meanwhile, Mrs Merkel delivered a speech at the German parliament stating for the first time that her government was preparing for no-deal.</p><p>'The chances of reaching in time a good and viable exit agreement is still there,' she said.</p><p>'At the same time, it is only fitting as a responsible and forward-thinking government leadership that we prepare for every scenario, that includes the possibility of Great Britain leaving the European Union without an agreement. We have begun in the government to prepare ourselves appropriately for this.'</p><p>But Mrs Merkel gave little indication that the EU was willing to give ground.</p><p>'In the negotiations with Great Britain on these and other issues it must always be clear, that, even if we want to avoid hardships at the end, there always needs to, and will be, a difference between having membership of the European Union and a partnership with the European Union as a third party,' she said.   </p><p>Britain would stick to EU rules on goods by adopting a 'Common rulebook' with Brussels, but not in the services sector.</p><p>Theresa May says this would allow the UK to strike free trade deals globally, but the scope would be limited by commitments to the EU.</p><p>The blueprint should minimise the need for extra checks at the borders - protecting the 'just in time' systems used by the car industry to import and export parts.</p><p>The UK Parliament could choose to diverge from these EU rules over time.</p><p>But there is an admission that this would 'have consequences'.</p><p>Britain would set up something called a 'facilitated customs arrangement'.</p><p>This would see the UK effectively act as the EU's taxman - using British officials to collect customs which would then be paid on to the bloc. </p><p>The borders between the UK and EU will be treated as a 'combined customs territory'.</p><p>The UK would apply domestic tariffs and trade policies for goods intended for the UK, but charge EU tariffs and their equivalents for goods which will end up heading into the EU.</p><p>Mrs May says her plan will prevent a hard Irish border, and mean no divergence between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.</p><p>There would be no need for extra border checks, as tariffs on goods would be the same.</p><p>Single market origin rules and regulations would also be sufficiently aligned to avoid infrastructure.</p><p>Britain would strike a Canada-style trade deal with the EU, meaning goods flow both ways without tariffs.</p><p>As it is a simple free trade deal, Britain would not be bound by most of the rules and red tape drawn up in Brussels.</p><p>The arrangement would be a relatively clean break from the EU - but would fall far short of full access to the single market.</p><p>Eurosceptics have suggested 'Canada plus' in key areas such as services and mutual recognition of standards.</p><p>The UK would have broad scope to strike free trade deals around the world.</p><p>Technology would be used to avoid extra customs checks on the borders.</p><p>As a result goods travelling into the UK from the EU and vice versa would be tracked and customs paid without extra checks.</p><p>The EU says the Canada model would mean border controls are required between Northern Ireland and the Republic to protect the single market and customs union.</p><p>It insists Northern Ireland must stay in the bloc's customs jurisdiction in order to prevent that.</p><p>Mrs May has signalled she agrees with the analysis - seemingly the reason she is reluctant to go down this route.</p><p>But Brexiteers point out that there is already a tax border between the UK and Ireland, and say technology and trusted trader schemes can avoid the need for more infrastructure. </p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 October 18, 2018
  • 
	Corrections and clarifications 

    Corrections and clarifications 

    n 29 September last year about Manchester fireman Wesley Gerrard being suspended for allegedly inviting women back to his station for sex.</p><p>We have since been informed that an investigation found the claim was unsubstantiated, although there was evidence he had used his status as a firefighter to attract women.</p><p>Mr Gerrard returned to duty in December last year and we are happy to make the position clear.</p><p>To report an inaccuracy, please email corrections@dailymail.co.uk.</p><p>To make a formal complaint go to www.dailymail.co.uk/readerseditor.</p><p>You can also write to Readers' Editor, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or contact IPSO directly at ipso.co.uk</p><p>Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 October 18, 2018
  • 
	Wrong-way M40 driver was in another crash 5 days before

    Wrong-way M40 driver was in another crash 5 days before

    t the car driven the wrong way down the M40 before a crash killed three people was involved in another smash just five days earlier.</p><p>Three people died after the Subaru Forester was seen towing a caravan south in the outside lane of the northbound M40 in Oxfordshire on Sunday.</p><p>The Subaru's driver and passenger, both in their 80s, died in the subsequent crash, along with a 32-year-old today named as Stuart Richards, from Stockport, Cheshire.</p><p>It emerged today that the Subaru had been involved in another crash five days earlier in nearby High Wycombe, prompting a police watchdog investigation.</p><p>Three people died in the horror crash near junction six of the M40 in Oxfordshire on Sunday</p><p>A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said today: 'We have made a mandatory referral to the IOPC in relation to the fatal collision, due to previous police contact.</p><p>'On 10 October this year in High Wycombe, a report of a damage-only road traffic collision involving the Subaru Forester was made to the Force.</p><p>'The IOPC will now make a decision as to whether they will carry out an investigation.'</p><p>Shocking dashcam footage from other vehicles on the motorway showed cars swerving out of the way as the Subaru and its caravan came careering down the motorway in the wrong direction.</p><p>It is believed to have travelled the wrong way between junctions seven and six - a distance of five miles - before the crash.</p><p>It then collided with a Ford Fiesta and a Ford Mordeo, which was being driven by Mr Richards.</p><p>The police spokesman added: 'The driver and a passenger of the Subaru, both aged in their eighties, died. They are yet to be formally identified at this time.'</p><p>Shocking footage shows cars swerving out of the way of the Suburu before the crash </p><p>Describing the moments before the accident, witness Sonia Thomson, from Staffordshire, said she was driving in the outside lane of the motorway when the realised the Subaru 'was just heading towards me'.</p><p>Ms Thomson, who works as cabin crew for British Airways, told the Press Association the car was 'going so fast' and 'it was almost past me in the blink of an eye'.</p><p>The crash happened shortly after her encounter with the car.</p><p>'Someone must have been looking after me because 10-20 seconds later and that could have been me,' she said.</p><p>Ms Thomson added that the incident 'doesn't make sense' as she believed someone who accidentally drove in the wrong direction on a motorway 'would get yourself to the hard shoulder and call for help'.</p><p>West Oxfordshire councillor Colin Dingwall told the Oxford Mail the car had been bearing 'foreign plates'.</p><p>He added: 'I've seen a lot of things in my 50 years on the road, but I've never seen a caravan coming the wrong way up the M40.'</p><p>The 4x4 driver (pictured) was seen towing the caravan on the wrong side of the M40 yesterday</p><p>Others who saw the chaos took to Twitter to describe what happened.</p><p>Liz Hindmarsh posted: 'My husband had to swerve into the middle lane otherwise he'd have been hit.'</p><p>Before news of the deaths was announced, Oliver Hayes wrote: 'We also had to swerve, seemed at least 70mph driving head on in our lane at junction 8... did not look accidental.</p><p>'Called the police who said they'd had multiple calls by that time. Scary stuff hope no fatalities but looked inevitable the way they were driving.'</p><p>Speaking earlier this week: Senior investigating officer Sergeant Beth Walton, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit of Thames Valley Police, said: 'We are in the early stages of the investigation, in which sadly three people died, and our thoughts are with their families.</p><p>'We are in the process of contacting witnesses who provided a report to us and are grateful for their support.</p><p>'I would ask anyone who has footage not to share it and to remove it from social media out of respect for the families and friends of the people who died.'</p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 October 18, 2018
  • &apos;Medicare for All&apos; isn&apos;t the answer. We need a basic health care safety net for all.

    &apos;Medicare for All&apos; isn&apos;t the answer. We need a basic health care safety net for all.

    y nearly 20 years ago, I believed so firmly that everyone in the United States should have health coverage that I put “Health Care for all of U.S.” on bumper stickers. Two decades later, we're not a lot closer to that goal.</p><p>While the Affordable Care Act helped millions of Americans gain health care coverage, the law has done little to control health care costs, and many Americans still can’t afford to buy insurance. As a result, many Americans are now calling for a dramatically different approach — “Medicare for All.” In fact, in our Texas Medical Center poll of 5,000 people throughout America this year, 59% of respondents supported the concept.</p><p>Many “Medicare for All” plans would create a national single-payer health care system in which the federal government becomes the only entity paying for health care.That would effectively eliminate private health insurance as we know it. Insurers and employers would be prohibited from offering most forms of health care coverage.</p><p>The term “single-payer” is often used interchangeably with universal health care or publicly funded health care, but there’s an important distinction. Under a single-payer system, private health insurance plays a tiny role. Only one major country in the world, Canada, uses a true single-payer health care system.</p><p>What the country really needs, however, isn’t a single-payer system. Instead, we should enact what I call a “single safety net.” This technique would be similar to our public school system, in which parents can either enroll their children in “free” public schools or choose a private school if they have the resources.</p><p>Under a “single safety net,” basic, government-funded health care is available to every American — with no holes in the net. The program could either be a single national program or have state variations. States would be required to pay a certain amount, but above that, could perhaps decide the level of funding that would determine what is covered, such as expensive drugs. The single safety net would not compete with private insurers.</p><p>Bernie Sanders: Trump lies about 'Medicare for All' and he's made health care worse</p><p>Medicaid expansion is popular. Democrats should build on it in midterms and beyond.</p><p>Rather, those who want additional coverage would be free to buy it. For example, employers could offer funding for additional “private” insurance that might provide most advanced drugs and access to certain hospitals. It is likely that the current tax exclusion for employer contributions would no longer be available.</p><p>This public and private system is the case in virtually all other countries. For example, the United Kingdom (which enjoys better health outcomes and longer life expectancy than the United States) is often erroneously described as a single-payer system. But more than 10 percent of the population there uses private health insurance to get appointments more quickly or to get access to a greater variety of covered drugs.</p><p>In the United States, where we value capitalism and competition and where the insurance lobby wields great power, the idea of eliminating private insurance is simply a nonstarter.</p><p>Instead of denying Americans choices, let’s give them more. Let’s let the federal government provide basic health coverage while allowing access to expanded coverage for those who want it and can afford it. Those who want additional private insurance, would foot the bill for the high administrative expenses associated with private plans. The general public would not.</p><p>If we want all Americans to have insurance coverage, everyone will need a safety net. But we don’t need to destroy the private insurance system. Of course this cannot happen overnight, but we could start with state experimentation. Congress could make small appropriations to states to try innovative health care solutions. This is the best way to get going soon.</p><p>Let’s give Americans what they want, similar to what virtually all other developed countries already provide — “Health Care for all of U.S.”</p>

    1 October 18, 2018
  •  The Latest: Mattis, Chinese counterpart discuss disputed sea

    The Latest: Mattis, Chinese counterpart discuss disputed sea

    im Mattis and his Chinese counterpart (all times local):</p><p> U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has met on the sidelines of an Asian security conference in Singapore with his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Wei Fenghe.</p><p> The face-to-face talks between the defense chiefs on Thursday lasted 90 minutes but produced no new agreements. But U.S. officials say they sense relations with the Chinese military may be stabilizing after a rocky few months.</p><p> China did not immediately comment to U.S. media outlets after the meeting.</p><p> Pentagon officials say they sense that relations with the Chinese military may be stabilizing after a few rocky months.</p><p> Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was meeting Thursday with his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, on the sidelines of an Asian defense ministers conference.</p><p> Just weeks ago, Mattis had planned to travel to Beijing for talks with Wei, but that fell through when the Chinese made it known that Wei would be unavailable -- one of several signs that tension in the overall U.S.-China relationship was spilling over into the military arena.</p><p> Wei and Mattis were in Singapore this week for an Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference.</p>

    1 October 18, 2018
  •  Malaysia's former deputy PM detained for alleged graft

    Malaysia's former deputy PM detained for alleged graft

    Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in a case linked to misappropriation of funds in his family-run welfare group.</p><p> The anti-graft agency said Zahid was detained after being summoned to its office on Thursday as part of its probe into abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering by his welfare group. It said in a statement that Zahid will be taken to court on Friday to face several charges under anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws.</p>

    1 October 18, 2018
  • New research indicates the oldest fossils ever found on Earth might just be rocks

    New research indicates the oldest fossils ever found on Earth might just be rocks

    on Earth may just be some rocks, according to a new study.</p><p>Two years ago, a team of Australian scientists found odd structures in Greenland that they said were partly leftovers from microbes that lived on an ancient seafloor. They were said to be 3.7 billion years old, which suggests life formed quicker and easier than thought after Earth formed.</p><p>But on Wednesday, the journal Nature, which published the 2016 study, released new research using NASA technology that concludes the structures found on rocks were likely not fossils but more rock. The Australian scientists, however, still maintain they are.</p><p>The new work was done by NASA astrobiologist Abigail Allwood, who had found the previously oldest fossil at nearly 3.5 billion years old. When she read the 2016 paper, she thought “there was something not quite right” so she went to Greenland and looked herself.</p><p>Allwood found the shapes, the weathering and mostly the interior layers of the structures didn’t fit with this type of fossil, called stromatolites. One even was growing in what she called the wrong direction.</p><p>Then Allwood used a version of an instrument that’s being sent to Mars in a few years to create a chemical map of the structure. She said it didn’t have the chemical signature of fossilized life.</p><p>Three outside experts told The Associated Press they agree with the newest research; none thought they were fossils as suggested by Allen Nutman at the University of Wollongong in Australia.</p><p>A claim of such an old fossil requires several lines of evidence, “so scientists were impressed but not convinced by Nutman’s work,” said University of Connecticut’s Pieter Visscher. He said he was persuaded by Allwood’s thorough work that it was not a fossil.</p><p>Nutman and his colleagues released a statement defending their work. They said Allwood took samples from the far end of one of two sites and didn’t test the original specimens when offered.</p><p>“This is a classic comparing apples and oranges scenario, leading to the inevitable outcome that ours and their observations do not exactly match,” they said in the statement.</p><p>Said another of the outside experts, Marie Catherine Sforna of the University of Liege in Belgium: “The search for traces of early life is without any doubt a difficult task and often raises controversy.”</p>

    1 October 18, 2018

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