The swift action is an attempt to answer critics who say that official response to rape in India has historically been slow, tepid, and ineffective. Some 95,000 rape cases are currently pending in Indian courts, according to the BBC, and in the capital, where sexual assaults are at a record high, only 1 of the 635 rape cases filed last year has resulted in a conviction to date.
Read more. [Images: Blank Noise]
Tens of millions of Hindu pilgrims are now descending on Allahabad, India, joining an estimated 8 million already there for the Maha Kumbh Mela. Held every 12 years at one of four places in India, the Kumbh Mela lasts nearly two months and is considered to be an especially auspicious time to bathe in the holy river for purification from sin. In 2001, the last time the festival took place, more than 40 million people gathered in an area smaller than 20 sq km (7.7 sq mi). This year, the predicted number of visitors tops 100 million. Collected here are images from the preparation and first days of the Maha Kumbh Mela, with possibly more to come in the next few weeks.
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Last week, in New Delhi, India, news stories of a horrific gang rape spread quickly, igniting widespread outrage. A 23 year old woman was attacked by six men on a moving bus and brutalized for 45 minutes, in the most recent and alarming of several high-profile incidents. Protesters have taken to the streets to demonstrate against the growing incidence of rape, and its slow and ineffective prosecution. Riot police have responded, dispersing crowds with forceful tactics including water cannons, batons, and tear gas. India’s government has now ordered a special inquiry into the incident to identify any negligence or errors on the part of police.
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Every year in the Indian state of Rajasthan, thousands of people and camels make a trip to the small town of Pushkar for the annual Pushkar Mela, or Pushkar Camel Fair. One of the oldest and largest camel fairs in the world, Pushkar has grown to become an important attraction for foreign tourists in recent years. Aside from the trading of livestock, the fair includes music, sports, and other events such as the “longest mustache” and “Indian bride dress-up” competitions. Collected here are a few scenes from this year’s fair in India’s northern desert.
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A system of national universities would (1) fight the rise in tuition, and (2) accommodate all those smart second-generation kids whose parents we should be recruiting to our country in droves. But it will also help the nation in a 3rd way by giving us an outlet for higher research spending. The U.S. has been spending less and less on R&D as a percentage of our GDP, even as R&D becomes more and more important. In part because of this, there are legions of PhDs being forced to take private-sector jobs in which they have no expertise. These trends need to be reversed in order to maintain America’s status as the leading technological nation. And a system of federal universities is the perfect vehicle to increase research spending and provide an outlet for all those PhDs.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, will come to a close this weekend with the observation of a fast called Eid al-Fitr. Throughout this ninth month on the Islamic calendar, devout Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sex from dawn until sunset. The fast, one of the five pillars of Islam, is seen as a time for spiritual reflection, prayers, and charity. After sunset, Muslims traditionally break the fast by eating three dates, performing the Maghrib prayer, and sitting down to Iftar, the main evening meal, where communities and families gather together.
Gathered here are images of Muslims around the world observing Ramadan this year.
See more. [Images: Reuters/Esam Al-Fetori, Reuters/Beawiharta, Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images, Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar, Reuters/Hassan Ali]
[Images: Reuters, AP]
French skate company Oxelo Skateboards took a team to India to shoot this gorgeous skate video, traveling to Bangalore, Dheli, Jaipur, and Agra over ten days.