Reuters blog archive
from Photographers' Blog:
By Danish Siddiqui
Malajpur is a small but not ordinary village in central India. In fact it is probably the only village in India which has been hosting a ghost fair for the past several years. People from across the country come to this fair to get rid of ‘evil spirits’ that they claim to be possessed by.
As night falls on Paush Purnima (full moon night) the 'possessed' are taken to the local shrine to be exorcised. People who bring their relatives here feel the latter's bodies have been 'taken over by ghosts of the dead' and that exorcism is the only release for them. Interestingly, most of those who come here to be exorcised are women. When I asked the priest the reason he said, “They are emotionally weak and hence easy target for spirits."
On the first day when I went to the temple, it looked to me like any other temple complex. But suddenly from the middle of the crowd I heard a woman scream as she started running around the temple courtyard. According to priests the ghost inside people becomes weak the more they run around the courtyard in an anti-clockwise direction. For those who don't run voluntarily (which is the case often) relatives or priests make them do so by pushing or kicking.
After a few rounds the possessed person is confronted by the priest on a sacred platform and if the answers are not satisfactory (questions include the name of the ghost and why he/she is hounding the person) the running continues.
The earthquake that shattered Haiti has unleashed fears that child-eating spirits, mythological figures entrenched in Haitian culture, are prowling homeless camps in search of young prey.
The 'loup-garou,' which means 'wolf man,' is similar to werewolf legends in other parts of the world, but in Haitian folklore it is a person who is possessed by a spirit and can turn into a beast or even a dog, cat, chicken, snake or another animal to suck the blood of babies and young children.
from Photographers' Blog:
Every summer the green hills of Rebkong are home to unique celebrations during which local Tibetans believe the mountain gods visit villagers -- and each other -- through human mediums.
Reuters photographer Christina Hu documents the celebrations in the multimedia presentation above. To read the full story click here.
The global recession is taking a severe toll on luxury goods, with LVMH -- owner of Dom Perignon, Louis Vuitton and De Beers -- reporting sharp declines at its wines, spirits, watches and jewellery divisions.
However, not all luxury goods are suffering. LVMH's fashion and leather goods enjoyed a rise in sales while Italian fashion house Prada closed 2008 in line with the previous year and said it planned further retail investments.
from Shop Talk:
With so many forecasters talking about the 2008 holiday season in extremes (the weakest since 1970, one of the worst in modern times), it's refreshing to hear an executive suggest that, ok, things were not great, but they weren't horrible either.
That assessment came on Wednesday from Rob Sands, chief executive of Constellation Brands, when the world's largest wine producer and maker of Robert Mondavi, Vendage and Ravenswood wines reported third-quarter earnings.