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Police forces in Berlin on Dec. 19
Police forces in Berlin on Dec. 19

Another week that will be stained in blood. For people in the West and throughout the (non-Orthodox) Christian world, this happens to be the week before the Christmas holiday, which leads us toward a new year. Few, at this point, have any illusions that 2017 can really be any less dreadful than 2016.

Monday's attacks in Ankara and then Berlin are of the proverbial shocking-but-no-longer-surprising variety. They are also a reminder that the blood being spilled daily in Syria for more than five years, sadly, no longer surprises or shocks us.

The killing of the face of Russia in the Turkish capital and the murder of faceless victims at a holiday market in the German capital may seem like very different attacks. But the sensation of watching the two stories unfold on the same day points to a deeper connection: They show us our ever-smaller world of deepening hatreds and cynical leaders, one of more bloodshed and bad years to come.

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Fading Flavor: Production Of Saffron Declines Sharply

Saffron is well-known for its flavor and its expense. But in Kashmir, one of the flew places it grows, cultivation has fallen dramatically thanks for climate change, industry, and farming methods.

Photo of women harvesting saffron in Kashmir

Harvesting of Saffron in Kashmir

Mubashir Naik

In northern India along the bustling Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Pampore — known as the saffron town of Kashmir —people are busy picking up saffron flowers to fill their wicker baskets.

During the autumn season, this is a common sight in the Valley as saffron harvesting is celebrated like a festival in Kashmir. The crop is harvested once a year from October 21 to mid-November.

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