And in the Rest of the World: Deepavali celebrations

Oct 29, 2016 11.00AM |

DEEPAVALI is finally here to wrap up the month of October.

The Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world will come together for this festival of lights to mark the victory of good over evil, and light over darkness.

In some countries, most notably India, Deepavali goes on for as long as five days, but in Singapore, most celebrate for only a single day. And that’s today. The date moves since it is based on the Hindu Calendar, but it generally comes between mid-October and mid-November. Next year (2017), it will fall on Oct 19. You’ll get to see many families decked in their beautifully designed traditional costumes around your neighbourhood. Even our female MPs ditched their formal work suits to don saris.

Roads along Burmah Road and Birch Road were closed to vehicular traffic for the Deepavali fair from 4pm on Friday (Oct 28) to 4am this morning (Oct 29). Use the map below to see which other countries are celebrating Deepavali and what they prepared for the occasion. Then, check out our selection of quotes pertaining to other world news.




Calais “Jungle” children are homeless

“We were begging the French authorities to actually do something about the refugee children and nothing was done.”

— Caroline Gregory, member of Calais Action, a British charity

Dozens of unaccompanied minors were left stranded at the Calais camp overnight despite French officials declaring the camp now empty. Aid workers have reported that about 100 children who were left in the camp. Volunteers found shelter for the children in a warehouse where many of the migrants were being processed, but some youths had to sleep on the ground outside one of the centres that were used to register migrants for relocation.  Nearly 5,600 people have been moved to reception centres since Monday (Oct 24), said the French government.


Trump says he should be handed victory in the presidential election

“We should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right?”  

— Donald Trump, United States presidential candidate

US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump has criticised Mrs Hillary Clinton’s trade policies, claiming that she would handle economic deals so badly that the country should cancel the election and declare him the victor. Mr Trump highlighted the North American Free Trade Agreement – which was signed by Mr Bill Clinton, the husband of Mrs Clinton and former president of the US – as resulting in the outsourcing of thousands of jobs to Mexico. His remarks came as he struggles to steady rocky poll numbers.


Marriage equality in Taiwan?

“The LGBT group were very angry. It has put a lot of pressure on our party and on other parties.”  

— Yu Mei-nu, member of the Democratic Progressive party

The death of a gay professor, Jacques Picoux, may propel Taiwan to be the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage. Professor Picoux, a 67-year-old French professor at the National Taiwan University, fell to his death from the 10th floor of his Taipei apartment block. Friends blamed Mr Picoux’s depression after his Taiwanese partner of 35 years died from cancer. Mr Picoux’s lack of legal status denied him the right to participate in crucial medical decisions. Pride Watch Taiwan has reported that there are about 66 legislators who will probably vote yes on marriage equality. Recent polls have also shown a public majority in support of same-sex marriage.


Brisbane bus driver burnt alive by passenger

“A bus driver, going about, doing his business, supporting the community, has had his life taken from him in what is a senseless and needless act.”  

— Jim Keogh, police superintendent

A bus driver in Brisbane was doused with inflammable liquid by his passenger and burnt to death in front of horrified passengers on Friday (Oct 28). There was no apparent motive for killing the 29-year-old Manmeet Alisher, who was a well-known singer within the Indian Punjabi community. A 48-year-old suspect has been arrested.

President Duterte: God told me to stop swearing

“I heard a voice telling me to stop swearing or the plane will crash in mid-air, and so I promised to stop.”  

— Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has told reporters that he has promised God he will clean up his vulgar language. Mr Duterte’s profanities have often been directed at the West, such as calling US president Barack Obama a “son of a whore” and the European Union “hypocritical”.  These insults were responses to criticisms over Mr Duterte’s bloody war on drugs. But Mr Duterte made it clear that his promise might have limits which will “depend on timing”.


Vine app owned by Twitter is shutting down

“We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way.”  

— Twitter, on closing down the video app

Vine, the six-second video app, is closing down completely, Twitter has announced. The social media company has not given a reason for the shutdown. It said it will be keeping the website open so that people can access past vines. But there will be no way to upload new videos.


Gambia is the lastest African country to leave the International Criminal Court 

“The African continent still suffers from too many wars and conflicts, all of which result in too many atrocities.”  

— Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor for the International Criminal Court

Gambia has announced its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, the third African nation to leave the court in two weeks. Last week, Burundi announced its intention to leave the court and on last Friday (Oct 21), South Africa did the same. Speaking on Tuesday (Oct 25), Gambia’s Information Minister Sheriff Bojang said his country was pulling out as the court is “an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans.” There are worries that this might be the start of an African exodus from the court. Many African nations have accused the court of being biased against African leaders – nine of its 10 current investigations involve African countries.


Compiled by Iffah Nadhirah Osman and Li Shan Teo. 

Featured image Earth by Flickr user Kevin GillCC BY-SA 2.0

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