Reuters blog archive
A devout Hindu declared himself "overjoyed" on Wednesday after winning a court fight to be allowed to be cremated in Britain on an open-air funeral pyre.
Spiritual healer Davender Ghai, 71, was granted his last wish by the Court of Appeal which ruled the controversial ceremony could be carried out without a change in the law, which prohibits the burning of human remains anywhere outside a crematorium.
But the judges ruled in his favour only after Ghai agreed that the pyre would be surrounded by walls and a roof with an opening, the Press Association domestic news agency reported.
from Tales from the Trail:
When it comes to showing support, bringing an entourage of people on a huge famous plane to the funeral of your friend's mother says a lot.
That's what President Barack Obama did for his pal and vice president, Joe Biden, on Tuesday. Biden's mother, Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Finnegan Biden, died on Friday at the family's home in Wilmington, Delaware. She was 92.
Our post "Catholic comments on Ted Kennedy, pro and con" showed readers were deeply split on whether the late senator should have a Roman Catholic funeral. The naysayers argued that his support for choice on abortion and other disagreements with Church doctrine disqualify him from a religious ceremony. Those for a church funeral argued that he helped advance many causes championed by Catholic social teaching.
Those opposing a Mass of Christian Burial for Kennedy predominated, but not all readers take the time to write a comment. One-click poll questions sometimes give a different picture from comment pages. So here's a simple question:
from AxisMundi Jerusalem:
Far from the spotlight of peace talks and military conflicts, Israel is facing a different kind of land crisis: it is running out of space to bury its dead. Most Jewish cemeteries in major cities like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, are filled beyond maximum capacity. Gravestones are packed together leaving little room for mourners to gather.
You can read about a new system of multi-tiered burial chambers being used in the Jewish state to solve the issue of land. It's actually an ancient system, used thousands of years ago by Jewish sages, that was modernised by two Israeli architects and given approval by the country's chief rabbis.
from Africa News blog:
Nowhere was Michael Jackson mourned more than in Africa. Young and old, people wept openly when news broke of his death, struck by disbelief and sadness. His funeral was followed across the continent anywhere that a television set could be found.
Jackson’s link with Africa strengthened when he visited the continent at the age of 14 as lead singer of the Jackson Five. Emerging from the plane in Senegal, he responded to a welcome of drummers and dancers by screaming: ''This is where I come from."
But by the time of his death, it was unclear whether Jackson was so proud of his origins. Surgery had altered his appearance to such an extent that many felt he looked as white as he did African-American.
His comment that he was "neither Black nor White" drew controversy during a visit to Africa in the 90s. Although he was happy to be crowned chief of several African villages and to shake hands with hundreds of people, the trip was a public relations nightmare – with allegations that police had beaten the crowds who went to see him and complaints in the local media that the pop star had been seen holding his nose, as if to keep out a bad smell.
from Fan Fare:
So far, the answers have proven surprisingly elusive.
Though Michael's father, Joe Jackson, has had time to turn up at the BET awards and plug his new record label, the family hasn't uttered a word about the possibility of a funeral or memorial service.
from Fan Fare:
Family members and friends gathered to mourn 1970s TV star Farrah Fawcett, who died last week after a long battle with cancer. You can read about the memorial service here.
Reporters were not allowed Los Angeles' Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to witness Fawcett's memorial, but we were outside to catch the casket being brought into the church, and we talked to a couple of fans outside. Click below to watch.
One of the many rumours that swirled around Michael Jackson in the final years of his life was that he had secretly converted to Islam and taken the name Mikaeel. The "King of Pop" does not seem to have spoken about this publicly himself, and that scene in Bahrain when he went shopping badly disguised in an Arab woman's abaya could be put down to his well-known penchant for dressing up. So unless there is some statement in his will or documentary evidence in his estate, his funeral expected this week may be the last time to test whether this rumour has any basis in fact. (Photo: Veiled Jackson greets security guard as he enters shopping mall in Manama, Bahrain with veiled child, 25 Jan 2006/Hamad Mohammed)
The Jacksons are Jehovah's Witnesses and could be expected to bury Michael in the tradition of that faith. When he announced the death, his brother Jermaine -- a Muslim -- ended with the words: “May Allah be with you, Michael, always.” Jermaine said in 2007 he was trying to convince Michael to convert.
from UK News:
Fifty-six percent of Scots chose hymns during the past 12 months, a rise of 2 percent on 2005, according to a survey carried out by Co-operative Funeralcare.