Hindu Press International- May 14, 2017

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DEHRADUN, INDIA, May 13, 2017 (Times of India): In major welcome news for Uttarakhand, railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday laid the foundation at Badrinath for the final location survey for a single broad gauge line rail system on the Char Dham pilgrimage route. This follows the start of a project to create an all-weather road for the same route.

Prabhu, who first flew to Kedarnath to offer prayers, came to Badrinath in a chopper to pay obeisance. Later, in the presence of CM Trivendra Singh Rawat and Union Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, he laid the foundation stone for the ambitious project worth US$6.7 billion. The route length of 203 miles through rough Himalayan terrain is likely to have 21 new station, 61 tunnels, totalling of 173 miles tunnel length and 59 bridges. On the occasion, Prabhu said, ”The project will benefit the tourists as well as the locals. It will help people in the hills travel from one place to another.”

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THAILAND, May 12, 2017 (The financial Express): Thailand’s king presided over an annual ceremony Friday marking the start of the rice-planting season. King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun sat quietly, his daughter at his side, as two oxen named ”Increase” and ”Abundance” ploughed a furrow around a section of the royal field in front of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. An official scattered rice seeds in the oxen’s wake. The Brahmin rites, led by Hindu priests and the first to be presided over by Thailand’s new king, were attended by the prime minister, Cabinet members and diplomats as well as farmers seeking signs of good fortune.

According to Thai historical accounts, the Royal ploughing Ceremony dates back around 700 years. Then as now, the success of the harvest is vital to the economy but also to the culture of the country. Thailand is one of the world’s leading producers of the crop, at around 30 million tons a year. It is also, surprisingly, the world’s second largest exporter of rice. It exports US$4.4 billion worth of rice a year, just behind number one India ($5.3 billion) and well ahead of number three, the US ($1.9 billion).

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INDIA, May 13, 2017 (Art of Living): The World Culture Festival was held on the banks of the River Yamuna on March 11-13, 2016. The expert committee set by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has submitted 2 reports that contain the claims of alleged damage to the Yamuna floodplains due to the event. This video extensively challenges the claims of both reports.

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Hinduism is wholly free from the strange obsession of some faiths that the acceptance of a particular religious metaphysics is necessary for salvation, and non-acceptance thereof is a heinous sin meriting eternal punishment in hell.
— Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975), Philosopher, statesmen and second president of India

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