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Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 4:03 PM
— Beginning next week, billions around the world will be celebrating the Hindu festival of light – Diwali.
The ancient ceremony that honors the legend of Hindu gods and goddesses is India’s most grand celebration, bringing together lights, sweet treats, colorful artwork and gifts.
What are the origins of the ceremony and how do people celebrate? Here’s a quick look at Diwali.
What is Diwali
Diwali, which means “series of lights,” is a five-day festival that coincides with the Hindu New Year. Diwali falls on the 15th day of Kartika, the holiest month in the Hindu calendar.
Who celebrates Diwali?
Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrate the holiday. In Jainism, it marks the spiritual awakening of Lord Mahavira. For Sikhs, it marks the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment.
What day is Diwali?
The date of the festival changes each year. This year, the main day of celebration falls on Thursday.
What is being celebrated?
Most people are celebrating the legend of the return of the Hindu god Rama and his wife, Sita, to their northern India kingdom of Ayodhya. The legend says Rama and Sita were exiled for 14 years after the defeat of the demon king Rayanna. Some honor Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, during Diwali.
How do people celebrate Diwali?
Homes and businesses celebrate the festival of light by using diyas, which are small clay lamps, and decorating with strings of lights. There are large fireworks celebrations to honor the message of the celebration of light overcoming the dark.
Rangoli patterns – colorful artwork made of rice or powder – are created at the entrance to homes. New clothes are worn during the festival, and the house is cleaned to welcome Lakshmi before Diwali begins.
During the festival, gifts are exchanged, sweet and savory foods are eaten and those celebrating are encouraged to help others in need.
What happens during the five days?
Each day has a special meaning. Here is how they are celebrated:
The first day is known as Dhanteras, with Dhan meaning “wealth” and teras meaning the 13th day of the lunar fortnight on the Hindu calendar. On this day prosperity is celebrated.
The second day is known as Naraka Chaturdasi, or Chhoti Diwali, meaning “small Diwali.” On this day, the goddess Kali and Lord Krishna were believed to destroy the demon Narakasura and free more than 15,000 captive princesses.
The third day (Thursday) of the celebrations is known as Amavasya. It is the new moon day. It is celebrated by lighting diyas and candles and shooting off fireworks. It is the most important day of Diwali.
The fourth day is celebrated in northern India as the day Lord Krishna defeated Indra the god of thunder and rain. In other places, it’s celebrated as New Years.
The fifth day is known as Bhai Duj. It celebrates sisters.
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 11:16 PM
— Just two days after the death of former first lady Barbara Bush, her granddaughter Lauren Bush Lauren and her husband, David, welcomed Max Walker Lauren to the family.
According to a Facebook post from Barbara’s Bush son Neil Bush, Max was born on Thursday. Arriving two weeks before his mom’s due date, the baby boy weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces.
Neil shared the news Friday morning and spoke about his mother’s passing as well as recognizing the moment as part of the circle of life:
“Maria and I were so blessed to spend lots of time with mom and dad during mom's last weeks and we are so grateful for the condolences and the outpouring of love expressed towards her by many, many friends. Barbara Bush was loved by everyone. She lived a remarkable life blessing family, friends, and total strangers around the world. Mom left on her own terms. In the final hours she was comfortable, loving, surrounded by family, holding hands with dad. Maria and I will always be grateful for being able to say a proper goodbye to our wonderful mother. And then two days later, yesterday morning, two weeks before her due date, Lauren Bush Lauren gave birth to a beautiful 7 lb 8 oz baby boy Max Walker Lauren. The circle of life. God is good.”
Bush’s daughter Lauren is married to the son of fashion designer Ralph Lauren. Lauren and David were married in 2011 and had their first son in 2015.
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 4:17 PM
COVINGTON, La. — A Louisiana woman with a history of identity theft faces 10 years in prison after she was convicted Wednesday of stealing another woman’s background to land an executive position with a six-figure salary.
Cindy T. White, 41, of Slidell, was found guilty of identity theft over $1,000, according to a news release from the office of 22nd Judicial District Attorney Warren Montgomery. It took jurors just 15 minutes to find White guilty of the charges.
Montgomery said in the news release that White used information stolen from another woman’s LinkedIn profile to beef up her resume in September 2015, when she applied for an executive-level position with Diversified Foods & Seasonings. NOLA.com reported that the company, based in Covington, was founded by the late entrepreneur Al Copeland.
White also used the other woman’s Social Security number and driver’s license number when applying for the job, the news release said.
She was initially hired as a human resources manager, a position with a $95,000 annual salary, Montgomery said. Five months later, she was promoted to senior human resources director, a job with a $105,000 salary.
Company officials became suspicious a few months later when they noticed that White had trouble with duties that she should have been able to perform based on her alleged educational background. Her resume listed a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and a master’s degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
“That’s not this person,” prosecutor Casey Dieck said in court, pointing at White. “This person stole the victim’s hard work and used it to get a six-figure salary and benefits to boot.”
Officials at Diversified Foods & Seasonings also noticed that White delegated a large number of tasks assigned to her, Montgomery said in the news release. They took a closer look at her personnel file and found discrepancies in it.
Company officials called the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in April 2016.
Investigators determined that White lifted her educational background directly from the LinkedIn profile of a woman with a similar name, Montgomery said. They also discovered that she obtained the woman’s driver’s license and Social Security numbers from an unnamed online site.
A look at White’s real background revealed that this was not the first time she had stolen someone’s identity, the news release said.
White, a former Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office employee, was arrested in New Orleans in 1997 on suspicion of theft, forgery and malfeasance in office after she was accused of stealing a co-worker’s identity and emptying the woman’s bank account.
She was caught when she was spotted in surveillance photos and identified, the news release said. She pleaded guilty that September to two counts of forgery and received probation.
Her probation was terminated in 1999 when the court was sent information that White had died, Montgomery said.
White also had a 1998 conviction in Jefferson Parish for attempted theft of goods.
Prosecutors argued that White, who admitted to St. Tammany Parish investigators that she used the victim’s identity to get the job, fraudulently collected $56,209 during the seven months she worked at Diversified Foods & Seasonings. Her defense attorney argued that she earned the salary she received.
Dieck denied the defense claim, Montgomery said in the news release.
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 5:42 PM
— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its warning to include all types of romaine lettuce. The warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.
The CDC also asks consumers to “not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.”
Additionally, the CDC suggests that consumers throw away any romaine lettuce in the home, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.
At least 31 people have been hospitalized, including three who developed a type of kidney failure, according to the CDC.
No deaths related to the outbreak have been reported.
The CDC has not yet identified the grower or a common brand, and is urging people not to eat chopped lettuce from the Yuma area.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection vary, but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Most people get better in five to seven days. Infections can be mild, but can also be severe and even life-threatening.
People started reporting illnesses that are part of the outbreak between March 22 and March 31.
DNA fingerprinting is being used to identify illnesses that are part of the same outbreak. Some people might not be included in the CDC’s case count if officials weren’t able to get bacteria strains needed for DNA fingerprinting to link them to the outbreak.
To reduce your risk of an E. coli infection, you can:
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 6:17 PM
— A wallet lost in 1972 has been found by a work crew in Wenatchee who is updating part of the Wentachee, Washington, pool facility.
Wenatchee World says the wallet, owned by Harry LaRue, contains some family pictures, and a Boy Scout Card. The World says it estimates that LaRue was about 10 when he lost the wallet and that he lived in East Wenatchee.
The wallet was found behind the boys’ lockers at the city pool by a city crew who was updating the changing room.
A reporter from the World tried to find LaRue, but has been unable to.
After seeing the World's Facebook post, someone who knows a man by the same name said she contacted him and he was calling the city, who has the wallet.