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Moldova Forces Communists To Bury Hammer And Sickle



The Communist party of the former Soviet Republic of Moldova, which had remained in power until 2009, is going to have to kiss goodbye to their hammer and sickle.

The Moldovan Parliament voted on Thursday to forbid the use of Communist symbols by political groups and parties, reports Romanian website Ziua Veche.

In the same measure, the Parliament voted to officially condemn the Soviet rule that lasted from 1924-1990, calling it a "totalitarian" regime. The vote was part of a standing political battle between the Liberal Party, close to neighoring Romania and the European Union, and the Communist Party, which has strong ties to Russia.

According to Moldovan weekly Jurnal de Chisinau, members of the Russian Communist Party called the ban on political groups using Communist symbols a "shame." Some Moldovan Liberal party members, however, are pushing to extend the ban on the political use of symbols of Communism, as well as Nazism, to include any individual as well.

With a population of fewer than four million, Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. Situated between Romania and Ukraine, the country became an independent state in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Since then, many in Moldova have been struggling to forget the Soviet past and move closer to the European Union. Its main supporter inside the EU is western neighbor Romania, a country with which it shares the same language and a common history.


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A Refuge From China's Rat Race: The Young People Flocking To Buddhist Monasteries

Unemployment, stress in the workplace, economic difficulties: more and more young Chinese graduates are flocking to monasteries to find "another school of life."

Photograph of a girl praying at a temple during Chinese Lunar New Year. She is burning incense.

Feb 20, 2015 - Huaibei, China - Chinese worshippers pray at a temple during the Lunar New Yeat

Frédéric Schaeffer

JIAXING — It's already dawn at Xianghai Temple when Lin, 26, goes to the Hall of 10,000 Buddhas for the 5:30 a.m. prayer.

Still half-asleep, the young woman joins the monks in chanting mantras and reciting sacred texts for an hour. Kneeling, she bows three times to Vairocana, also known as the Great Sun Buddha, who dominates the 42-meter-high hall representing the cosmos.

Before grabbing a vegetarian breakfast in the adjacent refectory, monks and devotees chant around the hall to the sound of drums and gongs.

"I resigned last October from the e-commerce company where I had been working for the past two years in Nanjing, and joined the temple in January, where I am now a volunteer in residence," explains the young woman, soberly dressed in black pants and a cream linen jacket.

Located in the city of Jiaxing, over a hundred kilometers from Shanghai, in eastern China, the Xianghai temple is home to some 20 permanent volunteers.

Unlike Lin, most of them only stay for a couple days or a few weeks. But for Lin, who spends most of her free time studying Buddhist texts in the temple library, the change in her life has been radical. "I used to do the same job every day, sometimes until very late at night, writing all kinds of reports for my boss. I was exhausted physically and mentally. I felt my life had no meaning," she says.

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