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EL ESPECTADOR

How Colombian Crime Networks Cash In On Venezuela's Misery

Venezuelans are sloshing their way across the Táchira River to seek jobs in Colombia, or smuggle food and fuel. Out of sight, but very much in control, are a pair of powerful criminal gangs.

Inflation has resulted in food shortages in Venezuela.
Residents wait to cross the international bridge near the Main Customs Border between Colombia and Venezuela

CÚCUTA — Colombian immigration authorities track how many people enter the country legally. On a recent weekend, some 60,000 came in via the Simón Bolívar bridge, the principal entry point between Colombia and Venezuela. What they don't know is how many Venezuelans cross the porous, 2,219-kilometer border illegally.

There are even breaches in the border right near the Simón Bolívar bridge, illegal crossing points, El Espectador recently observed, that Venezuelans use on a daily basis to escape their country's poverty, spiraling crime and increasingly restrictive political conditions. And like with every humanitarian crisis, there are also the vultures — in this case criminal gangs and perhaps members of the Venezuelan National Guard — who are eager to cash in on other people's misery. Crossing the border has become a business, an open secret that no one mentions but everyone is aware of.

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Society

Taking A Position: A Call To Regulate Yoga In India

Trained practitioners warn that unregulated yoga can be detrimental to people's health. The government in India, where the ancient practice was invented, knows this very well — yet continues to postpone regulation.

Prime Minister Modi at a mass yoga demonstration in Lucknow, India

Banjot Kaur

NEW DELHI — Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the observance of the eighth International Yoga Day from Mysuru, in southwestern India, early on the morning of June 21. Together with his colleagues from the Bharatiya Janata Party, he set out to mark the occasion in various parts of the country — reviving an annual ritual that had to take a break for the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yoga is one of the five kinds of alternative Indian medicine listed under India’s AYUSH efforts — standing for "Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and naturopathy, and Homeopathy." Among them, only yoga is yet to be regulated under any Act of Parliament: All other practices are governed by the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM), Act 2020.

Yoga and naturopathy are taught at the undergraduate level in 70 medical colleges across 14 Indian states. The Mangalore University in Karnataka first launched this course in 1989; today, these subjects are also taught at the postgraduate level.

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