New Delhi, Nov 8 (AP/UNB) — Toxic smog has shrouded the Indian capital as air quality plummeted to hazardous levels after tens of thousands of people set off a multitude of firecrackers to celebrate the major Hindu festival of Diwali.
With schools closed for holidays, many young children stayed indoors to escape the pollution levels that shot up to 681, as reported by the U.S. Embassy Thursday morning. That's 20 times higher than what's considered safe by the World Health Organization and could cause serious aggravation of heart or lung diseases.
A government organization blamed it on a combination of toxic fumes from the burning of stubbles in agricultural fields and firecrackers.
Revelers flouted the Supreme Court order that firecrackers could be exploded only between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on the festival night on Wednesday.
New York, Nov 7 (AP/UNB) — There is now a museum for pizza lovers everywhere that's popped-up in arguably America's pizza capital, New York City.
The Museum of Pizza is dedicated to all things cheese and sauce, but there's more to it than meets the tongue.
"It's often that the simplest ideas are the best. And we wanted to use pizza's ubiquitous appeal to get people through the door and looking at art and hearing about history in a different format," said Alexandra Serio, Chief Content Officer at Nameless Network, the group that baked the Museum of Pizza idea.
"Our approach to this Museum of Pizza is a fine art approach, so we went out to multiple artists contemporary in many mediums, and asked them for their interpretation of pizza," said Serio. "And what we got back is_it ranges the gambit, let's just say that. That's an understatement."
Located on the street level of Brooklyn's William Vale hotel, the museum is an expansive, one-floor space that houses a wide variety of art, from giant photographs to sculptures to large installations that engulf visitors. And the pop-up museum, also known as "MoPi," has already drawn a lot of interest_more than 6,000 people came through the doors when they opened this month.
Another instantly recognizable attribute of the space is the bright colors that are weaved throughout the exhibits_perfect for taking social media-ready pictures.
"Honestly, I thought it would be like more of a museum like at the beginning, with the pizza boxes and it kinda tells you when it was developed and stuff like that," said Nene Raye, visiting from New Jersey. "Then I was kinda hoping they had something artsy in it because I love taking pictures. So this is a mashup of everything_so you get a little bit of education and then some fun, which I love."
Serio said selfie-friendly exhibits are becoming a priority for museums as they try to get younger legs to walk through their doors.
"It's a kind of paradigm shift with museums," she said. "You'll see, I think in the next few years because of museums like the Museum of Ice Cream, and multiple pop-ups of this ilk, museums kind of courting a younger audience and seeing how they can make their exhibitions more tactile, touch and photography friendly."
Lydia Melendez, a self-described "pizza aficionado," bought her tickets in April. For her, this experience was worth the wait.
"I thought it was going to be kinda boring, like I'm going to walk in and there's just going to be a book about pizza and how to make it. But this is definitely one for the books."
While pizza may be the hook that draws those interested to the museum, the focus of MoPi is to expose visitors to the fine art world_even if the education is fed one slice at a time.
"The Museum of Pizza's target demographic isn't necessarily the same type of people that are making a quarterly trips to the MoMA or the Frick collection or the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) ", said Serio. "We're really putting fine art in a place that's easily accessible for a wide range of people."
The pop-up museum, which costs $35 for adults but is free for kids under 5 and seniors, closes Nov. 18.
Tokyo, Nov 6 (Xinhua/UNB) - World-famous Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami will open an archive at his alma mater that includes manuscripts of his works and his massive collection of music, the writer announced here Sunday.
At his first formal news conference in Japan in 37 years, the writer revealed his "dream" plan to open a "Murakami Library" at Waseda University in Tokyo, to store drafts of his best-selling novels, his translation work as well as his collection of vinyl records, according to Japanese local media the Mainichi.
"I'm more than happy if those materials can contribute in any way for those who want to study my works," Murakami said.
"I hope it would be a place for cultural exchanges with positive and open atmosphere," he said.
The writer came up with the idea of donation when he realized that his collection of materials has grown so much over the past 40 years and there was not enough storage space at his home and office.
"I have no children to take care of them and I didn't want those resources to be scattered and lost when I die," he said, adding that he "considered various places" and felt that his alma mater "is the best place."
Born in 1949, Murakami started writing after graduating from Waseda University in 1975. He has published more than 10 novels, a number of collections of short stories and collected essays. His works have been translated into more than 50 languages, among which is his best-known novel, Norwegian Wood, whose drafts will be included in the archive.
Beijing, Nov 6 (AP/UNB) — A city in southwestern China has banned dog walking during the daytime and banished the pets entirely from parks, shopping centers, sports facilities and other public spaces.
The ordinance issued by the city of Wenshan in Yunnan province on Oct. 29 has been called the most restrictive in a nation where dog ownership has long been subject to tight regulations.
Under communist China's founder Mao Zedong, pet ownership was considered a bourgeois affection but it has revived over recent decades with Chinese being more affluent but having smaller families.
Many cities, however, still maintain rules on what size dogs can live in what areas, with the capital Beijing banning large dogs from the city center.
However, Wenshan's ban appears to go well beyond that by saying dogs can only be outside before 7 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
It also says dog leashes cannot be longer than 1 meter (3 feet) and dogs can only be walked by adults.
Dhaka, Nov 5 (UNB) – The 8th edition of Dhaka Lit Fest (DLF), an yearly international literature festival, will be held at Bangla Academy premises here on November 8-10.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor will inaugurate festival as the chief guest, organizers of the event came up with the information at a press conference held at Bangla Academy on Monday.
Over 200 writers, performers and thinkers will take part in the 3-day long event comprising over 90 sessions.
Shirshendu Mukhopadhayay, the phenomenal West Bengal author, will also attend the event despite his illness.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Adam Johnson, Oscar-winning actor Tilda Swinton, award winning Indian actress Manisha Koirala, Commonwealth Writers’ Prize winner Mohammad Hanif, Ondaatje Prize winner Philip Hensher, Orwell Prize Winner James Meek, noted Bangladeshi writers Syed Manzoorul Islam, Imdadul HaqMilon, Kaiser Haq and Selina Hossain, among others, will speak at the event.
Besides, actress-filmmaker Nandita Das will talk about her newly released acclaimed film Manto at the event, said the organisers.
Other programmes of the festival include book launching, cultural performances, writing workshops, interactive panel discussions and creative sessions for children, said the organisers.
Cambridge short story prize will be awarded at the festival for the first time in Bangladesh.
Highlighting the significance of the festival, Anis Ahmed, one of the directors of DLF, said the festival is an attraction for the invitees from abroad who are amazed by our activities and hospitality which takes the image of Bangladesh to a new height.
He further said that they have already taken up a task of translating ample number of Bangla books for the readers of other languages.
Sadaf Saaz, Director & Producer of the event said, more than 300 foreign guests attended the event from 50 different countries over the past seven years and this year around 40 writers, thinkers and performers from 15 countries will be present at the event.
Zafar Sobhan, Editor of Dhaka Tribune, termed Dhaka Lit Fest as ‘Touchstone of Excellence’ and said it is not only the most prime literature festival in the region but in the whole world which shows Dhaka is second to none in holding a world class literary event.
Brac Bank Head of Communications Zara Jabeen Mahbub, Bangla Academy Director (Admin) Dr. KM Mujahidul Islamand Bangla Tribune Editor Zulfiqer Russell, were present at the press conference.
8th Dhaka Lit Fest is hosted by Bangla Academy with Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune as the Title Sponsors while Brack Bank is the key sponsor along with British Council, a strategic partner of the event.
Orgnisers said tight security measures have been taken centering the event and no bag larger than 5"×10" will be allowed to carry.
Online registration for the event is open at www.dhakalitfest.com/register/.