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361/365 – Wagah border ceremony

August 25, 2012 Leave a comment

The Wagah border closing ‘lowering of the flags’ ceremony is a daily military practice that the security forces of India (Border Security Force) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) have jointly followed since 1959.

This ceremony takes place every evening before sunset at the Wagah border, which as part of the Grand Trunk Road was the only road link between these two countries before the opening of the Aman Setu in Kashmir in 1999.

The ceremony starts with a blustering parade by the soldiers from both the sides, and ends up in the perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations’ flags.

It is called the beating retreat border ceremony on the international level. One infantryman (Jawan) stands at attention on each side of the gate.

As the sun sets, the iron gates at the border are opened and the two flags are lowered simultaneously. The flags are folded and the ceremony ends with a retreat that involves a brusque handshake between soldiers from either side, followed by the closing of the gates again.

The spectacle of the ceremony attracts many visitors from both sides of the border, as well as international tourists.

In October 2010, Major General Yaqub Ali Khan of the Pakistan Rangers decided that the aggressive aspect of the ceremonial theatrics should be toned down.

The ceremony has been filmed and broadcast by Michael Palin for one of his television around-the-world travel programs; he described it as a display of “carefully choreographed contempt.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagah_border_ceremony

Categories: Events, General Knowledge

339/365 – Birthday

August 3, 2012 Leave a comment

A birthday is a day or anniversary when a person celebrates his or her date of birth. Birthdays are celebrated in numerous cultures, often with a gift, party or rite of passage.

Although the major religions celebrate the birth of their founders (e.g., Buddha’s Birthday), Christmas – which is celebrated widely by Christians and non-Christians alike – is the most prominent example.

In contrast, certain religious groups, as is the case with Jehovah’s Witnesses, express opposition to the very idea of celebrating birthdays.

Legal conventions

In most legal systems, one becomes a legal adult on a particular birthday (often between 14 and 21[2]), and reaching age-specific milestones confers particular rights and responsibilities.

At certain ages, one may become subject to military conscription or become eligible to enlist in the military, to marry without parental consent, to vote, to run for elected office, to legally purchase (or consume) alcohol and tobacco products, to purchase lottery tickets, or to obtain a driver’s license.

Birthday traditions

In many portions of the world an individual’s birthday is celebrated by a party where a specially made cake, usually decorated with lettering and the person’s age, is presented.

The cake is traditionally studded with the same number of lit candles as the age of the individual, or a number candle representing their age. The celebrated individual will usually make a silent wish and attempts to blow out the candles in one breath; if successful, it means the wish will be granted.

In many cultures, the wish must be kept secret or it won’t “come true”. Presents are bestowed on the individual by the guests appropriate to his/her age.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday

329/365 – Singapore National Day

The National Day of Singapore is celebrated every year on 9 August, in commemoration of Singapore’s independence from Malaysia in 1965.

This holiday features a National Day Parade, an address by the Prime Minister of Singapore, and fireworks celebrations.

National Day Parade  

The Singapore National Day Parade is a national ceremony that is usually held at the National Stadium or the Padang.

For the first time in 2007, it was held at Marina Bay in lieu of the National Stadium, and this arrangement is expected to be maintained until the new sports hub is completed around 2014.

National Day Rally  

Also on National Day, the Prime Minister of Singapore makes an annual address to the nation, called the National Day Rally.

A yearly event since 1966, the Prime Minister uses this rally to address the nation on its key challenges and its future directions, and can be compared to the State of the Union Address delivered by the President of the United States.

Prior to 2005, the rally was a continuous speech from 8 pm (SST). From 2005, the Malay and Chinese versions were delivered at 6.45 pm with a break at 7.30 pm while the English version was delivered at 8 pm. Opposition MPs have been invited to the rally since 2007.

Singapore Fireworks Celebrations  

National Day celebrations also include fireworks celebrations. They feature several local and foreign teams which launch fireworks displays on different nights.

First held in 2004 at Marina Bay, the event was initially known as the Singapore Fireworks Festival and organised by Unusual Productions.

The amount of fireworks used has grown in magnitude over the past three years, from 4,000 rounds used in 2004 to over 9,000 in 2006.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Day_(Singapore)

Categories: Events, General Knowledge

323/365 – 2012 Summer Olympics

Host city: London, England, United Kingdom

Motto: Inspire a Generation Nations

participating: 205

Athletes participating: 10,500 (estimated)

Events: 302 in 26 sports

Opening ceremony: 27 July

Closing ceremony: 12 August

Stadium: Olympic Stadium

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad, also known informally as London 2012 (for example on the official logo), are scheduled to take place in London, United Kingdom, from 27 July to 12 August 2012.

Following a bid headed by former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe and the then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, London was selected as the host city on 6 July 2005 during the 117th IOC Session in Singapore, defeating bids from Moscow, New York City, Madrid and Paris.

London will become the first city to officially host the modern Olympic Games three times, having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948.

Construction has involved considerable redevelopment, particularly themed towards sustainability. The main focus of this is a new 200 hectare Olympic Park, constructed on a former industrial site at Stratford in the east of London.

The Games also make use of many venues which were already in place before the bid.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Summer_Olympics

279/365 – 2008 Mumbai Attack

The 2008 Mumbai attacks (sometimes referred to as 26/11) were 11 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India’s largest city, by Islamist terrorists who came from Pakistan.

The attackers allegedly received reconnaissance assistance before the attacks. Ajmal Kasab, the only attacker who was captured alive later confessed upon interrogation that the attacks were conducted with the support of Pakistan’s ISI.

The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday, 26 November and lasted until Saturday, 29 November 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308.

Eight of the attacks occurred in South Mumbai: at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital (a women and children’s hospital), the Nariman House Jewish community centre, the Metro Cinema, and a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier’s College.

There was also an explosion at Mazagaon, in Mumbai’s port area, and in a taxi at Vile Parle. By the early morning of 28 November, all sites except for the Taj hotel had been secured by Mumbai Police and security forces.

On 29 November, India’s National Security Guards (NSG) conducted Operation Black Tornado to flush out the remaining attackers; it resulted in the deaths of the last remaining attackers at the Taj hotel and ending all fighting in the attacks.

Ajmal Kasab disclosed that the attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based militant organisation, considered a terrorist organisation by India, Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations, among others.

The Indian government said that the attackers came from Pakistan, and their controllers were in Pakistan. On 7 January 2009, Pakistan’s Information Minister Sherry Rehman officially accepted Ajmal Kasab’s nationality as Pakistani.

On 12 February 2009, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik asserted that parts of the attack had been planned in Pakistan. A trial court on 6 May 2010 sentenced Ajmal Kasab to death on five counts.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Mumbai_attacks

106/365 – Chennai Book Fair

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Chennai Book Fair or Madras Book Fair is an annual book fair organized in the Chennai, India by the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI). The fair typically lasts for about 10 days during the New Year-Pongal season. The fair is usually held between the last week of December and the third week of January.

  

The Chennai Book Fair is one of the biggest book fairs in the country with almost all major publishers of India participating in it. The Chennai Book Fair is considered to be one of the biggest events in the Chennai cultural calendar along with the Chennai music season.

History
The 1st Madras Book Fair was organized in Madras between December 14 and December 24, 1977 by The Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India(BAPASI), an association with major publishing companies of Tamil Nadu especially Madras & South India. The 1st Madras Book Fair had 22 stalls and was held at the Madrasa-I-Azam school. The first six book fairs were successful mainly due to the efforts of K. V. Mathew of BI Publications who was responsible for the growth of the book fair in its early years.

The early editions were held in the last weeks of December and ended in the first week of January in order to coincide with the Christmas-New Year holidays. However, in the late nineties, the fair was moved to mid-January to coincide with the Pongal festive season.

Features
The Chennai Book Fair is considered to be one of the biggest events in the Chennai cultural calendar along with the Chennai music season. In addition to book stalls, there are food and refreshment stalls to serve the needs of hungry visitors. Regular debates, contests and speeches are held at the venue. In recent times, movie clippings of films of international renown are filmed at the venue of the fair. Annual awards to the best writer and the best publisher are given at the fair.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chennai_Book_Fair

Categories: Book, Events, General Knowledge