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Thousands join India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for world yoga celebration; some wear masks

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From the Himalayan region of Ladakh to the deck of an aircraft carrier, tens of thousands joined Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to celebrate the fourth International Day of Yoga, with a few wearing masks to highlight poor air quality.

Modi pushed for the annual event to be held worldwide after winning power in 2014, with the lifestyle industry centered on the ancient physical and spiritual discipline estimated to be worth around $80 billion.

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Pictures on social media showed participants braved rising mercury levels and unhealthy air quality in some places to spotlight yoga, India’s cultural export to the world.

Countries such as Afghanistan, Japan and Peru held yoga sessions, while Australia and South Africa celebrated on Monday.
In India, more than 50,000 people joined Modi in performing yoga in the lawns of Dehradun’s Forest Research Institute, in the Himalayan foothills of the northern state of Uttarakhand.

“From Tokyo to Toronto, from Stockholm to Sao Paulo, Yoga has become a positive influence in the lives of millions,” Modi told participants on the lush green lawns.

“In a world where non-communicable diseases, stress and lifestyle-related ailments are rising, yoga can play a central role in mitigating these diseases to create a healthy mind and body.”

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About 7 million people die each year from breathing polluted air that can lead to heart disease, stroke and lung cancer, the World Health Organization said in a report last month, most of the deaths happening in Asia and Africa.

India was home to the world’s 14 most polluted cities, with New Delhi, the capital, ranked sixth most polluted, it added.

Delhi’s air quality has improved from the hazardous levels it hit last week, but still ranges around 200 to 400 micrograms per cubic meter, or roughly three to six times the safe level, government data show.

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Some participants wore masks to highlight the alarming quality of the air, which has worsened during recent winters, prompting Modi’s office to directly monitor cleanup measures in New Delhi.

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev led a gathering in the western state of Rajasthan, whose chief minister said it was the largest group yoga event.

Troops guarding the world’s highest battleground on the Siachen glacier, in the Ladakh region of northern Jammu and Kashmir state, did yoga routines at an altitude of around 18,000 feet (5,486 m).

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The Indian navy also released pictures of sailors doing yoga on board the world’s oldest aircraft carrier, the INS Viraat, decommissioned last year.

Writing by Malini Menon; Editing by Clarence Fernandez


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Trump rages against impeachment ‘lynching’ — and warns GOP will seek revenge against next Dem president

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President Donald Trump declared himself a victim of a "lynching" -- and threatened the next Democratic president with impeachment as he faces increasing calls for his removal from office.

The president raged against the impeachment inquiry that has largely been held in closed-door hearings as House Democrats investigate a possible criminal conspiracy involving classified information.

"So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights," Trump tweeted. "All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here - a lynching. But we will WIN!"

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Global millionaires now own nearly half of world’s $361 trillion in wealth

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The millionaires of the world, who account for just 0.9 percent of the global population, now own nearly half of the planet's $361 trillion in wealth while the bottom 56 percent of the population owns just 1.8 percent.

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According to Credit Suisse, the U.S. added 675,000 new millionaires over the past year, bringing the country's total to 18.6 million.

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Jimmy Carter suffers pelvis fracture in another fall at home

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Former President Jimmy Carter suffered an injury in a fall at home.

Carter, who turned 95 years old this month, fell Monday evening at his home in Plains, Georgia, and was hospitalized for treatment of a minor pelvic fracture, according to The Carter Center.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter had a fall yesterday evening at his home in Plains, Ga. He has been admitted to Phoebe Sumter Medical Center for observation and treatment of a minor pelvic fracture. He is in good spirits and is looking forward to recovering at home.

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