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Tongue piercing festival observed with vigor

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BHAKTAPUR — Buddha Krishna Bag Shrestha has pierced his tongue this year in front of a huge crowd of devotees at Bode in Madhyapur Thimi Municipality on Saturday to maintain an age-old tradition observed during the Bisket Jatra.

The tongue piercing festival is observed on Baisak 2 every year.

Krishna Chandra Bag Shrestha pierced Buddhakrishna’s tongue with a one-foot-long iron spike amidst traditional music before he was brought to Bode Higher Secondary School near Layaku Chowk by a musical band.

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The tradition, tongue piercing, is the central figure of Bisket Jatra. The tongue does not bleed.

With the spike lodged in the tongue, Shrestha was taken round various places before taking the spike out of his tongue in front of Pancho Ganesh. This is the fifth time Buddha Krishna Shrestha took part in the tongue piercing festival.

It is believed that if the tongue bleeds while piercing, something bad would happen, said Juju Bhai who has taken part in the tongue piercing festival for eight consecutive time.

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Putin orders withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria

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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria on Monday morning, saying that after a two year military campaign, Moscow and Damascus had achieved their mission of destroying Islamic State.

Putin made the announcement during a surprise visit to Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria’s Latakia Province where he held talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and addressed Russian military servicemen.

“I order the defense minister and chief of the general staff to start the withdrawal of Russian troops to the site of their permanent deployment,” Putin stated, speaking in front of Russian military personnel at Khmeimim.

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Mr Putin said that in the space of two years the Russian and Syrian militaries have “defeated the most battle-hardened grouping of international terrorists,” adding that he had made the decision that a significant number of the Russian military contingent in Syria should return to Russia.

Russia first launched air strikes in Syria in September 2015 in its biggest Middle East intervention in decades, turning the tide of the conflict in Assad’s favor while dramatically increasing Moscow’s own influence in the Middle East.

After a short visit to Syria, the Russian president headed for Cairo, where he is scheduled to hold talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Reuters/RT

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