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Geopolitics

In Damascus, A Mother Torn From Her Family

There are many victims in the civil war in Syria. One woman in the capital, whose husband and children have managed to flee to Egpyt, suffers a particular kind of fear and solitude.

“I am a prisoner in my own home"
“I am a prisoner in my own home"
Ali Safar

DAMASCUS — Samar reaches for her phone and dials the number she has now memorized by heart. She waits, then gets the voice mail asking her to leave a message. She sighs and hangs up, clearly frustrated. She decides to go personally to the Egyptian Embassy in the Damascus neighborhood of Kfar Souseh.

Her journey, which she makes on foot, takes two hours, during which she must pass several regime checkpoints. Previously, soldiers did not pay much attention to women passing through, but these days, they take extra care examining ID cards, especially those of veiled women. Overt religious expression is more likely these days to translate to sympathy with the increasingly Islamist revolt, and Sunni women are more commonly veiled than Alawites. But since Samar was not wearing the hijab, the soldier manning the checkpoint let her go through quickly.

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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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