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Nowruz Persian New Year 2015: Why The Islamic Republic Celebrates A Pre-Islamic Holiday
The Islamic Republic of Iran celebrated on Friday the start of the new year?s festival of Nowruz, a holiday that has its roots in ancient, pre-Islamic traditions. Nowruz has historically been celebrated by people in the region regardless of their religious affiliations and continues to be promoted by Iran?s present government, despite its hardline Islamic policies.

Freer and Sackler mark Nowruz, the start of the Persian year 1394
Leaping over open fires, feasting on foods rich with symbolism, and general merrymaking ? these are all aspects of Nowruz, the springtime holiday that heralds the start of the Persian new year.

Videos: Persian New Year, Norouz
Nowruz, ";New Day";, is the holiest and most joyful festival of the Zoroastrian year and the most important national festival for all Iranians. Its celebration is recorded from the Achaemenian period around 500 BCE.

 Most Popular

Iran, powers explore nuclear compromises, Israel alarmed

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waits to start a meeting with Iranian officials at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in LausanneBy Louis Charbonneau, John Irish and Parisa Hafezi LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Iran and six world powers tried to break an impasse in nuclear negotiations on Sunday, but officials cautioned that attempts to reach a preliminary deal by a deadline in two days could yet fall apart. The two sides explored compromises in areas including numbers of centrifuges used to enrich uranium that Iran could operate, and its nuclear enrichment work for medical research. Tehran, which denies it trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability, is demanding an end to international sanctions that are crippling its economy. Several officials told Reuters that Tehran had indicated a willingness to cut the number of centrifuges it uses to fewer than 6,000, thereby slowing its program, and to send most of its enriched uranium stockpiles for storage in Russia.

Fighting and air strikes across Yemen, dialogue remains distant

Anti-Houthi protesters hold posters of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud during a demonstration to show support for Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen, in the country's southwestern city of TaizBy Mohammed Mukhashaf and Sami Aboudi ADEN (Reuters) - Yemeni fighters loyal to the Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi clashed with Iranian-allied Houthi fighters on Sunday in downtown Aden, the absent leader's last major foothold in the country. Hadi loyalists in the southern port city reported a gun battle in the central Crater district in which three people were killed, and said they recaptured the airport, which has changed hands several times in several days of fighting. The Health Ministry, loyal to the Houthi fighters who control the capital, said Saudi-led air strikes had killed 35 people and wounded 88 overnight. The Houthi fighters, representing a Shi'ite minority that makes up around a third of Yemen's population, emerged as the most powerful force in the Arabian Peninsula's poorest country last year when they captured the capital Sanaa.

Germanwings crash co-pilot may have had detached retina: newspaper

A Germanwings logo is pictured at a door of a car outside the Germanwings headquarters at Cologne-Bonn airportBy Maria Sheahan and Michael Nienaber BERLIN (Reuters) - The co-pilot suspected of crashing a passenger jet in the Alps may have been suffering from a detached retina but investigators are unsure whether his vision problems had physical or psychological causes, a German newspaper said on Sunday. Bild am Sonntag also reported how the captain of the Germanwings Airbus had screamed "open the damn door!" to the co-pilot as he tried to get back into the locked cockpit before the jet crashed last Tuesday, killing all 150 on board. Another German newspaper, Welt am Sonntag, quoted a senior investigator as saying the 27-year-old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz "was treated by several neurologists and psychiatrists" and that a number of medications had been found in his apartment. Lufthansa, the parent company of the budget airline, said the carrier was unaware of a psychosomatic or any other illness affecting Lubitz.

Air Canada flight slides off Halifax runway, injuring passengers

Air Canada Airbus A320 lies in the snow after it skidded off the runway at Halifax International AirportBy Mark Blinch HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) - An Air Canada plane slid off a runway and suffered heavy damage while landing in the east coast city of Halifax on Sunday, sending more than 20 passengers and crew to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The airline said in an update on Sunday afternoon that all but one of those admitted to hospitals had now been released. "We at Air Canada are greatly relieved that no one was critically injured. Yet we fully appreciate this has been a very unsettling experience," Air Canada Chief Operating Officer Klaus Goersch said in a statement.


Tony winner and Neil Simon director Gene Saks dies at 93

FILE - This April 22, 1977 file photo shows director Gene Saks in New York. Saks, the Tony Award-winning director who brought to life many of Neil Simon?s works onstage and on screen, died Saturday, March 28, 2015, his son said. He was 93. (AP Photo/Marty Reichenthal, File)NEW YORK (AP) ? The Tony Award-winning director who brought to life many of Neil Simon's works onstage and on screen has died.

DreamWorks' 'Home' bests 'Get Hard' at box office with $54M

In this image released by DreamWorks Animation, characters Oh, voiced by Jim Parsons, left, and Tip, voiced by Rihanna appear in a scene from the animated film "Home." (AP Photo/DreamWorks Animation)NEW YORK (AP) ? Business was brisk at the weekend box-office, where the DreamWorks animated alien adventure "Home" beat out the Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy "Get Hard" with a resounding debut of $54 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Michelle Obama declares 'Black Girls Rock!'

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during a taping of the Black Girls Rock award ceremony at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Saturday, March 28, 2015, in Newark. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)NEWARK, N.J. (AP) ? First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated the beauty, power and tenacity of black women while spreading her own message of education for girls at Black Girls Rock!, an annual event honoring trailblazing women of color from all walks of life.

'Home' comfy atop North American box office

Actor Jim Parsons arrives at Twentieth Century Fox and Dreamworks Animation's 'Home' Premiere at the Regency Village Theatre on March 22, 2015 in Westwood, CaliforniaLos Angeles (AFP) - Animated children's flick "Home," about an unpopular space alien forced to flee his own kind, took up residence over the weekend at the top of the North American box office, estimates showed Sunday.


U.S. jobs to add heat to Fed lift-off debate

A "Now Hiring" sign hangs on the door to the Urban Outfitters store at Quincy Market in BostonThe state of the U.S. labor market in March will consume economists and investors in the week leading up to Easter, adding to the seesaw debate over when the Federal Reserve will spring its first interest rate hike. Fed Chair Janet Yellen made it clear on Friday that the U.S. central bank is likely to start raising borrowing costs later this year, adding that continued improvement of the labor market would be an important factor in deciding when to move. Labor market data are therefore likely to be the highlight of the economic week, providing a further signal to the Fed on the health of the U.S. economy and its capacity to withstand rate rises. Yellen said a significant pickup in core inflation was not a precondition for the Fed to pull the trigger on rates.

Stanchart says committed to Islamic banking after head of unit exits

A man walks past the head office of Standard Chartered bank in the City of LondonBy Tom Arnold DUBAI (Reuters) - Standard Chartered remains committed to Islamic banking and expects growth in its core markets, a spokesman for the lender said on Sunday, after the head of its Islamic arm departed. Afaq Khan left Standard Chartered Saadiq, the lender's global Islamic banking business, after 12 years with the Asia-focused bank to take a career break, the spokesman said. "Standard Chartered remains committed to our Islamic banking business, and we continue to position ourselves for further growth in the core markets where the largest Islamic banking opportunities exist," the spokesman said. The core markets include Bahrain, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates, where Standard Chartered offers personal banking services, the spokesman said.

China central bank governor calls for vigilance on deflation

Zhou delivers a speech in BeijingBy Adam Jourdan BOAO, China (Reuters) - China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan warned on Sunday that the country needs to be vigilant for signs of deflation and said policymakers were closely watching slowing global economic growth and declining commodity prices. Zhou's comments are likely to add to concerns that China is in danger of slipping into deflation and underline increasing nervousness among policymakers as the economy continues to lose momentum despite a raft of stimulus measures. "Inflation in China is also declining. Zhou added that the speed with which inflation was slowing was a "little too quick", though this was part of China's ongoing market readjustment and reforms.

British Airways says some frequent flyer accounts hacked

British Airways' new Airbus A380 arrives at a hanger after landing at Heathrow airport in LondonBritish Airways said on Sunday tens of thousands of its frequent flyer accounts had been hacked and that it had frozen those affected to sort the problem out. "British Airways has become aware of some unauthorized activity in relation to a small number of frequent flyer executive club accounts," a spokesman said.

 CBC Technology & Science

Why the Middle East's tech sector is 'a transformative force'
Maya Zankoul

A technology conference held in Beirut last week showed that the region is becoming a hub for all things digital, thanks to a young, educated and resourceful population eager to solve its many problems.

Website lets users put money down on their own weight loss
Laureen Krumshyn DietBet Weight Loss

Losing weight is going competitive as a new website uses people?s urge to make money as an incentive to shed pounds.

Russian, American astronauts begin their year in space
Kelly and Kornienko

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft has docked at the International Space Station carrying three astronauts. Two of them are due to spend enough time there to break an ISS record.

Earth Hour: 4 things to know about the annual environmental event
Earth Hour Canada

Millions of homes and businesses around the world will be in the dark tonight during Earth Hour, an annual event aimed at raising awareness about climate change and the environment.

 Health & Weight Loss

Lodi student in state spelling bee

Lodi student in state spelling beeA-p-t-i-t-u-d-e. A noun with the definition of quickness at learning, which is also one way to describe Michelle McMahon.

U.S. Senate Resolution Commemorates the Discovery of the Polio Vaccine
Sixty years ago, Jonas Salk's inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) gave new hope to parents in the U.S. that they could protect their children from what was, at the time, one of the most terrifying diseases facing Americans. Today, the world is nearly polio free, with a reduction in polio cases by over 99 percent, thanks in large part to IPV...

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