When a massive earthquake struck Nepal in April, Nepal's longest-serving "living goddess" was forced to do the unthinkable -- walk the streets for the first time in her life, she told AFP in a rare interview. Still following the cloistered lifestyle she entered at the age of two, Dhana Kumari Bajracharya also opened up about her unusually long 30-year reign, suggesting the pain of her unceremonious dethroning in the 1980s was still raw. Before the 7.8 magnitude April 25 quake, Bajracharya had only ever appeared in public while being carried in an ornate wooden palanquin. The Himalayan nation's living goddesses, known as Kumaris, live in seclusion and rarely speak in public, bound by customs that combine elements of Hinduism and Buddhism. But as the tremor hit, shaking the ground, reducing buildings to rubble and killing thousands, Bajracharya left her quarters in the historic city of Patan, south of Kathmandu, for the first time in three decades. And for the first time on foot. "I had never thought about leaving the house like that," she said, clearly still traumatised by the disaster that claimed more than 8,800 lives. "Perhaps the gods are angry because people don't respect traditions as much anymore," Bajracharya, 63, added. As the disaster ripped through Nepal, shaking Bajracharya's five-storey home, her family stayed indoors, waiting to see if the retired Kumari would break tradition and walk out with them. "We couldn't just leave the house like everyone else, we had to think of her. We didn't know what to do," said her niece, Chanira Bajracharya. "But when nature forces you, you do the unthinkable," she added. Dhana Kumari Bajracharya was enthroned in 1954 when she was just two years old and reigned for three decades as the Kumari of Patan. The Kumari, a pre-pubescent girl from the Newar community, is considered an embodiment of the Hindu goddess Taleju. Selection criteria is strict and includes a number of specific physical attributes from an unblemished body to a chest like a lion and thighs like a deer. - 'Why so old?' - Unlike Kathmandu's "living goddess" who must move to an official residence, the Patan Kumari is allowed to live with her family, but can only emerge on feast days when she is paraded through the city to be worshipped. "I loved going out during the festivals the most," said Bajracharya, remembering how devotees lined up along Patan's narrow streets, eager to receive her blessings. The Patan Kumari is traditionally dethroned once she begins to menstruate and, since Bajracharya never started her periods, she continued to serve well into her thirties. But in 1984, Nepal's then crown prince Dipendra, who would go on to massacre his family 17 years later, stirred up a controversy which eventually ended her tenure. "Why is she so old?" the 13-year-old prince reportedly asked when he saw Bajracharya during a festival, prompting priests to replace her with a young girl. Thirty years later, the memory of her abrupt dismissal still stings. "They had no reason to replace me," she told AFP. "I was a little angry... I felt the goddess still resided in me." - Unchanged routines - Forced into retirement, Bajracharya decided to continue living the life she had always known, unable to abandon her duties or end her withdrawal from the outside world. Every morning she wakes up, drapes an embroidered red skirt like the one she wore during her years as a Kumari, scrapes her hair into a topknot and lines her eyes with kohl curving upwards to her temples. On special occasions, she uses red and yellow powder to draw a third eye in the middle of her forehead and takes to a wooden throne decorated with brass snake carvings. Devotees are received, as when she was an official Kumari, on Saturdays and during festivals in a separate room in her red brick home reached by narrow stairs above two floors rented out to a shop and financial cooperative. "The priests did what they had to do, but I cannot abandon my responsibilities," she said. When Bajracharya's niece Chanira was chosen as a Kumari in 2001, she guided her through the process. Nepal has seen sweeping changes during Bajracharya's lifetime, transforming from a Hindu kingdom to a secular republic, the former Kumari's daily routine remains the same. Her one concession to modernity is a fondness for television, especially current affairs shows and Indian mythological dramas. Since the quake, however, she spends most of her time engrossed in prayer, according to Chanira. "It saddened her immensely... our astrologer had predicted last year that my aunt would leave the house, and we were wondering how that would ever happen," she said. "But we never expected this."
- Business Insider
Ex-official who investigated Hillary Clinton's emails said the documents recovered by the FBI at Trump's Mar-a-Lago were particularly 'stunning' and 'egregious'
"Whether this investigation transforms into an outright criminal prosecution remains to be seen," David Laufman said on CNN.
Trump sent cryptic message to Merrick Garland before warrant was unsealed: 'The country is on fire. What can I do to reduce the heat?'
Donald Trump reached out to Attorney General Merrick Garland before the warrant to search Mar-a-Lago was unsealed, The New York Times reported.
Trump's initially 'upbeat' mood about the FBI's Mar-a-Lago raid turned dark when GOP support began to wane, report says
Sources told The Washington Post that Trump initially believed that the FBI raid would benefit him as it would look like the DOJ had overreached.
The former president also slammed the FBI as "corrupt" for confiscating the material. Some of it was marked as classified and top secret, according to a warrant.
Mary Trump speculates that Jared Kushner could be the 'Mar-a-Lago mole' after reports say an informant close to Trump guided FBI agents to the documents
Sources told The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek that someone told the FBI about the documents at Mar-a-Lago and where they were stored.
Ex-White House chief of staff said Trump stashed records at Mar-a-Lago because 'he didn't believe in the classification system'
Trump has denied any wrongdoing by keeping White House records at his Mar-a-Lago resort, saying, "Everyone ends up having to bring home their work."
Ex-Clinton aide implies 'President of France' file found at Trump's home during Mar-a-Lago raid could be valuable to Putin as 'kompromat'
The FBI found "info re: President of France" during the Mar-a-Lago raid. In a tweet, Jennifer Palmieri implied it could be used as "kompromat."
- The Daily Beast
via TwitterA Pennsylvania man who allegedly plowed his blue Honda Accord into a crowd of mourners late Saturday, killing one and injuring 17 others, before murdering his own mother, allegedly told cops he did so because he was tired of fighting with his mom over money.State troopers said that at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes, 24, drove into a group of about 75 people who were attending a daylong community benefit in Nescopeck to raise funds in the wake of a horrific house f
Trump goes on Truth Social rampage, sharing over a dozen posts, including from accounts with QAnon references
Accounts Donald Trump reposted included references to QAnon, the Pepe the Frog hate symbol, and debunked conspiracy theories about the FBI.
Former GOP advisor says Trump has to be charged or Garland must resign after Mar-a-Lago raid: 'There's no going back now'
"This can only end in one of two ways: he's got to be indicted or Merrick Garland has to resign," conservative commentator Scott Jennings said.
Trump's lawyer signed a statement months ago saying all classified documents had been turned over, report says. The FBI found more during its raid on Mar-a-Lago.
The FBI recovered 11 boxes of classified materials from Mar-a-Lago, but the NYT reported Trump's lawyer said in June all of them had been returned.
A group that wants to eliminate nuclear weapons says the FBI's seizure of documents at Mar-a-Lago highlights vulnerabilities in global security: 'We really have no idea what was going on inside Trump's head'
On Monday, federal agents found 11 sets of classified documents after searching former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence.
Rand Paul calls for repeal of Espionage Act amid DOJ investigation into Trump taking classified documents to Mar-a-Lago
The DOJ is investigating if Donald Trump broke the Espionage Act. But Rand Paul, a GOP senator, wants it repealed, he said Saturday.
- Country Living
Singer Shania Twain stunned fans when she returned to her home country of Canada to close out the Boots & Hearts Music Festival in a youthful mini dress.
- The Hollywood Reporter
Robyn Griggs, known for her roles on soap operas Another World and One Life to Live, has died. She was 49. The actress’ passing was announced on her Facebook page Saturday. She had been battling cervical cancer and was open about her health struggles on social media, with Griggs posting last month that she had been diagnosed […]
- The Daily Beast
The contentious interview was Ohio Rep. Mike Turner’s second on CNN this week.CNNRep. Mike Turner (R-OH) demanded to know Sunday whether the boxes former President Donald Trump allegedly brought to Mar-a-Lago were actually classified, arguing that only seeing the top secret documents would prove whether the FBI needed to raid Trump’s Sunshine State estate.Not that Turner would ever need to worry, because he says he doesn’t take classified documents home.“Do you take home documents marked special
Trump's latest defense for Mar-a-Lago documents is everyone 'brings home their work from time to time' and the files were automatically declassified
Trump's statement on the Mar-a-Lago documents was featured on Fox News. He claimed a "standing order" declassified files "the moment" they left the Oval Office.
The far right is calling for civil war after the FBI raid on Trump's home. Experts say that fight wouldn't look like the last one.
"People's sense of the civil and civic ways of resolving disputes" is "out the window," Fiona Hill told Insider, warning of the potential for "civil conflict."
"I think no man is above the law, but everybody's innocent until proven guilty," Hogan said. "So, we just have to see where this investigation leads."
GOP lawmaker says he was notified by FBI that his 'life was in danger' by 'some of these same people' threatening law enforcement in wake of Mar-a-Lago raid
"I myself have been notified by the Bureau that my life was put in danger recently by some of the same people," Fitzpatrick said Sunday.