Dhaka, Feb 13 (UNB) - Pahela Falgun, the first day of Spring in the Bengali month of Falgun, is being celebrated across the country today (Wednesday) in a colourful way with young girls and boys joining various functions wearing dazzling dresses.
Falgun is the eleventh month in the Bengali calendar and the first month of the season, Spring, the king of all the six seasons that brings back warm sunshine, budding flowers and dancing of birds.
The first of Falgun is known as Pahela Falgun and usually falls on February 13 of the Gregorian calendar.
After the dryness of winter, new leaves start to come out again and the nature adorns the branches with new colorful flowers such as Shimul, Polash and Marigold.
Falgun brings joys and colours both in nature and life. Everything in nature gives an impression of youthfulness or freshness, as if the nature takes a new birth. The festival-loving Bangladeshi people welcome and celebrate this day with great joy, love and in a colourful manner.
Girls are dressed in 'bashonti' (yellow or orange) coloured sarees while boys wear colorful panjabis to welcome the Falgun.
A spring festival is being celebrated on the premises of Dhaka University's (DU)'s fine arts faculty, which is the centre of the festival.
Besides, different socio-cultural organisations have chalked out various programmes in the capital and elsewhere to celebrate the day.
Prayagraj, Feb 12 (AP/UNB) — At the world's largest pilgrimage in Prayagraj in northern India, tens of millions of Hindu faithful travel to the sacred sangam — the confluence of three holy rivers — to take a dip.
The Kumbh Mela, or pitcher festival, is a series of baths by Hindu sadhus and sadhvis, holy men and women, and other pilgrims who believe the ritual cleanses them of their sins and ends the process of repeated reincarnation.
For some, stripping down for a holy dip also signifies the stripping away of the material world.
At every Kumbh, including this year's, thousands of devotees are initiated into the reclusive sect of the Naga Sadhus — naked, ash-smeared cannabis-smoking Hindu warriors and onetime-armed defenders of the faith who for centuries have lived as ascetics in jungles and caves.
On so-called royal bathing days, the Naga Sadhus lead the 13 monastic orders' processions — on garlanded horses, elephants and tractors — through the festival grounds and into the river, armed with tridents and swords.
Performed by senior priests, the elaborate process of initiation comprises five rituals, starting with the shaving of heads and beards, ritual offering of saffron robes, wearing prayer beads, applying ash on the body and giving up their last piece of clothing.
The aspirants have to take a vow of celibacy, practice tough physical and mental conditioning and renounce worldly possessions and family ties.
After a purifying bath in the river and a prayer ceremony, the sadhus have to perform "Pind Dan," a Hindu funeral ritual to pay homage to their ancestors for the salvation of their souls.
Usually this ritual is performed only after a person dies.
But the last "Pind Dan" ritual at the Naga initiation ceremony is for the sadhu himself, symbolizing the unity of his soul with God.
"They will consider themselves dead, and only their soul will live on. They will pronounce themselves dead even while living," said Santosh Mishra, a 50-year-old priest of the Juna Akhara monastic order.
After they are ordained, the Naga Sadhus must remain partially or fully naked for the rest of their lives, sleep on the ground, limit themselves to one meal a day, obey their leaders and gurus and protect the Hindu religious traditions.
The ancient Kumbh festival, which UNESCO added to its list of intangible cultural heritage in 2017, runs through early March. About 150 million people are expected to attend.
New York, Feb 10 (AP/UNB) — If there were a best-view award at New York Fashion Week, Christian Siriano would win it. The sights outside the designer's runway show atop Rockefeller Center were hard to beat: The Empire State building, the Chrysler Building and other Manhattan landmarks, just as the sun began to set on a cold but clear Saturday.
As for the clothes, Siriano looked to the future — the far-off future — with a collection that had an outer-space feel, with shiny silver metallics and highly sculpted futuristic shapes.
Even the colors were galactic: "Pulsar purple," ''comet blue," ''eclipse black," ''astral plane ivory," ''asteroid gray," and "supernova silver."
Siriano himself was full of apologies as he came out for his post-show bow, telling the crowd "I'm so sorry!" for the late start — a result of congestion in elevators leading up to the venue, and lines snaking through the lobby at Rockefeller Center. He repeated the apologies throughout post-show interviews.
The celebrity guests didn't seem to mind too much: Debra Messing, Billy Porter and Mariska Hargitay whooped with admiration as some of Siriano's flamboyant designs came down the runway. Other celebs in attendance included actresses Christina Hendricks, Christina Ricci, Danielle Brooks, and Kelli Giddish.
"I'm thinking of futurism," Siriano said backstage about his theme, "and what do people think about that, what does futuristic mean to everybody else? So mine was if you had to live in a different realm, a different world, how would you dress, and what would your social calendar be like. What would inspire you?"
The designer is known for the diversity of his runway — in terms of racial diversity and also size — and said he remained committed, "because that's who our customer is, that's our world, that's what's out there. So it doesn't make sense to not have that, all these different women. I think that was very important to highlight the range of beauty."
Plus-sized model Tess HolIiday, who attended the show, said Siriano was "size inclusive and he's one of the first designers to do it. He continuously not only shows up for our community, but puts on beautiful shows."
Siriano said he'd just finished taping his first season as mentor on "Project Runway," taking over from Tim Gunn, and working alongside supermodel Karlie Kloss.
"It was awesome," he said of returning to the reality show, which he won as a contestant in its fourth season. "I love working with Karlie. I think it's going to be really great." He said he'd be bringing his perspective as a working designer to the show's contestants.
"I treat them the same way I treat my staff, my team," he said. "Like, 'Do you like that fabric? Do you think that's right? I'm giving them advice the same way I would give my team advice."
Siriano was full of appreciation for the vocal support he gets from his celebrity guests.
"Sometimes fashion people can be a bit, you know, they're tired," he quipped, "so it's so nice to have (his celebrity fans) there to support me, because listen, they're wearing the clothes. So even if an editor hates the clothes, I'm like, 'Well that's fine, Debra Messing is nominated for a Golden Globe and I'm going to dress her! So for me, that's important. And I don't know why other people don't think it is."
Kuala Lumpur, Feb 7 (UNB)- Malaysia, with a score of 95 out of 100, was ranked first in the Best Healthcare in the World category of the 2019 International Living Annual Global Retirement Index.
According to the International Living website, among top six countries that obtained the best ratings in the category of Best Healthcare in the World for this year, Malaysia ranked first with its world-class healthcare services and sophisticated infrastructure.
It said that with 13 hospitals in the country accredited by Joint Commission International (JCI), where almost all doctors majority of whom were trained in the United Kingdom, the United States or Australia were fluent in English, thus communication was flawless.
“There are both private and public hospitals for expatriates to choose from, to suit one's needs though the private hospitals tend to be a bit more expensive but are more up to Western standards than the public hospitals,” it said, adding that even at the private hospitals, the treatment was affordable for minor visits.
“The prescriptions in Malaysia cost a fraction of what you pay at home. But it's not just the cost that is attractive it's the service.
“Pharmacists, similar to rest of medical staff in Malaysia, are well-trained and informed. The Malaysians are friendly people, but it's the genuine interest they take which impresses,” it said. - Bernama
New Orleans, Feb 6 (AP/UNB) — The jaguar that escaped last summer and killed nine animals is back on display at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.
Valerio apparently chewed a hole in the 4-inch-wide (10-centimeter-wide) steel mesh roof above a column in the exhibit sometime before the zoo was to open July 15.
"We're assuming he probably went up to chase a possum or a raccoon or a cat or something that was walking across the top of his habitat," said Joel Hamilton, curator and vice president at the zoo.
Now the walls and roof are of 2-inch (5-centimeter) mesh, too small for Valerio's jaw. The twisted steel is also thicker.
The zoo also installed four video cameras and an electrified wire around the roof, including around the tops of internal columns. The "hot-wire" is used on a number of exhibits, but hadn't been installed in the jaguar exhibit before Valerio's escape.
"We have added that as another level of precaution," Hamilton said.
Tuesday was the 3-year-old adolescent's first time on public view since his July escape, when he killed five alpacas, an emu and three foxes. He had been allowed into the habitat for about an hour Monday, a day the zoo is closed.
Valerio spent a while Tuesday morning exploring a new ramp, two new platforms and snarfing chunks of meat that keepers had placed on them.
"That's his new playground," Anne Zwerner of New Orleans told Bonnie Jane Zwerner, 3, and her 2-year-old brother, Ryan Kent Zwerner. Their 6-month-old brother, Carson James Zwerner, shared a double stroller with Ryan Kent.
After Valerio ate the biggest chunk from the top of the ramp, he investigated the damp wood where the food had been set out.
"What is he eating right now?" asked Bonnie Jane.
"You know, like how you can lick the plate? He was licking his plate," her mother said.
Valerio is alone in the display. The zoo's female jaguar, Ix Chel, who had given birth to five cubs, was euthanized in September because of kidney failure. The zoo is looking for another female who is genetically compatible with Valerio, Hamilton said.
In the meantime, Hamilton said, the animal doesn't mind his solitude: "Jaguars, like most large cats — other than lions — are solitary animals."
Bonnie Jane wanted to know about the small crowd of reporters, photographers and videographers who had cameras and cellphones aimed at Valerio.
"He's famous today," Zwerner said. "He's always famous. But he's extra-special famous today."