An In-Depth Explanation of the Seven Human Chakras & How You Can Properly Balance Them

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There are seven major chakras within the human body, running from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. The chakra system is often discussed in yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other ancient practices. The Sanskrit word chakra literally translates to “wheel” or “circle.” Our chakras spin like wheels when we’re alive and healthy, allowing our vital life force energy, “Prana,” to flow throughout us.

When our chakras are working properly, often referred to as being in balance or aligned, they spin and allow energy to flow up the spine (or the Kundalini). However, our chakras can also become overactive, underactive, imbalanced, or even blocked, which can affect us both physically and emotionally.

The physical realm can affect our chakras and our chakras can affect our physical reality; they are meant to work in harmony together. For example, if one of your chakras is blocked, this can manifest into physical disease or pain in that area. Likewise, when we experience certain emotions, they can affect our chakras. When you’re feeling heartbroken after a breakup, for instance, this could affect your heart chakra.

When the chakras are balanced, we feel at our best and our bodies are in their healthiest state. Many people who are familiar with the chakra system can quite literally feel it, and can intuitively recognize when their specific chakras are imbalanced.

As a result, you have the power to balance your chakras yourself, which can be done through meditation, yoga, self-reflection, nutrition, energetic healing, crystals, or even just by being in a high vibration setting or taking a deeper look at your emotions. Healers can also help you balance your chakras, typically by helping you work through physical or emotional pain, but ultimately you can work toward accomplishing this yourself.

Our Seven Chakras and How to Balance Them

First Chakra: Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra)

Where: Base of the spine. It encompasses the first three vertebrae, the bladder, and the colon.

Emotions/behaviours: The first chakra is associated with security, safety, survival instincts, basic needs (such as food, sleep, and shelter), and family. It’s also associated with our physical identities and our ability to stay grounded and present.

Physical signs of imbalance: Constipation, cramps, and any issues with the adrenal glands, spine, blood, bladder, and colon.

Signs of an overactive root chakra: Feeling greed, paranoia, and increased fear; obsessing over authority and power, material goods, or Earthly possessions and other elements of our identities.

Signs of an underactive root chakra: Feeling disconnected from nature and the Earth, daydreaming, lack of discipline, inability to focus on our everyday lives, disorganization, anxiety, and financial insecurity.

How to balance the root chakra: The colour associated with the root chakra is red, so any high vibrational foods with a naturally strong red pigment or grounding properties can help recharge your chakra (tomatoes, strawberries, beets, red apples, pomegranates, raspberries, and even protein). Crystals that are red such as red jasper, chanting “LAM,” going out into nature, using colour therapy with the colour red, meditating, practicing yoga, and addressing the physical and emotional signs of imbalance can all help to balance the root chakra.

Second Chakra: Sacral Chakra (Svhadhisthana Chakra)

Where: Slightly above the root chakra on the spine, around the reproductive organs. Above the pubic bone, but below the navel.

Emotions/behaviours: The sacral chakra is associated with creativity, sexuality, commitment, passion, expression, emotions, and sensitivity.

Physical signs of imbalance: Issues with menstruation or reproductive organs, lower back pain or stiffness, urinary issues, kidney pain or infection, and infertility.

Signs of an overactive sacral chakra: Sexual addiction and heightened emotions; being overly dramatic and creating strong emotional attachment to others.

Signs of an underactive sacral chakra: Low sex drive, inability to express emotions, insensitivity, difficulty manifesting desires, lack of desires, blocked creativity, emotional fatigue, and denying yourself pleasure.

How to balance the sacral chakra: The colour associated with the sacral chakra is orange, so any high vibe foods that have a deep or bright orange colour (mandarins, mangoes, carrots, squash, pumpkin, yams, seeds, nuts, and oils). You could also use orange crystals like carnelian, chant “VAM,” do creative tasks like painting/dance/any other art form, practice yoga, meditate, or address the physical and emotional signs of imbalance head on.

Third Chakra: Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura Chakra)

Where: Above the sacral, slightly above the navel but below the chest. It’s associated with the nervous system, digestive system (stomach and intestines), liver, pancreas, and metabolic systems.

Emotions/behaviours: The solar plexus is entirely related to our sense of Self, our personal power, our ability to separate the Ego from the Soul, and our self esteem.

Physical signs of imbalance: Poor digestion, weight problems, ulcers, diabetes, problems with the pancreas, liver, or kidneys, anorexia, bulimia, hepatitis, and other intestinal and colon issues.

Signs of an overactive solar plexus chakra: Finding faults in others (not realizing these are a reflection of your own feelings toward yourself), being obsessed with yourself and your own interests, caring more about yourself than others, being too critical, and being stubborn in your own beliefs.

Signs of an underactive solar plexus chakra: Insecure in your beliefs, feeling lost, lack of self awareness, anxiety, conformity, seeking approval from others, feeling self conscious, low self worth, lack of self confidence, and being dependent on others.

How to balance the solar plexus chakra: The colour associated with the solar plexus chakra is yellow; try eating high vibe foods that have a yellow colour and lighter protein options (bananas, corn on the cob, fresh pineapple, yellow peppers, lentils, yellow squash, and grains like oats). You could also use yellow crystals like citrine or try yoga, meditation, chanting “RAM,” or engaging in activities that allow you to truly understand who you are as a human being and as a soul (journaling, self reflection, confidence building exercises, etc.).

Fourth Chakra: Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra)

Where: Centre of the chest, across from the heart. It’s associated with the heart, lungs, chest, breasts, arms, and hands.

Emotions/behaviours: The heart chakra represents our ability to love ourselves and others, to connect with other beings, and to express gratitude and joy.

Physical signs of imbalance: Heart or respiratory issues, poor circulation, and problems with the breasts (cancer, lumps, etc.).

Signs of an overactive heart chakra: Being overbearing and “too caring” toward others, placing your love for others over your love for yourself, conditional love, anger, grief, being manipulative, co-dependency, giving too much of yourself and not allowing yourself to receive, and acting like a “people pleaser.”

Signs of an underactive heart chakra: Negativity, feeling unloved, unappreciated, or like you’re “not worthy” or deserving of love, lack of self love, feeling disconnected from society and loved ones, and having difficult trusting or connecting with others.

How to balance the heart chakra: The colour associated with the heart chakra is green; you could try eating high vibrational foods that are deep green colours or are simply lighter weight foods like broccoli, kale, chard, and other leafy greens. You could also use green crystals like moss agate, meditate, practice yoga, try some “heart opening” exercises, practice self love (have some “me” time), and chant “YAM.”

Fifth Chakra: Throat Chakra (Vishuddha Chakra) 

Where: The throat center. It’s associated with the thyroid gland, neck, throat, shoulders, ears, and mouth.

Emotions/behaviours: The throat chakra relates to our ability to express ourselves vocally and to speak our truth/peace, honesty. It also relates to our communication skills and our understanding of when it’s best to speak versus when we need to listen.

Physical signs of imbalance: Sore throat, issues with the throat like an infection or tonsillitis, thyroid problems, losing our voices, neck and shoulder pain, ear aches/infections, and teeth issues.

Signs of an overactive throat chakra: Speaking too much and not listening enough, and being over opinionated, verbally abusive, and “talking back.”

Signs of an underactive throat chakra: Inability to express ourselves vocally, feeling too scared to share our emotions with others, poor communication skills, giving mixed messages to others, and being misinterpreted/misunderstood.

How to balance the throat chakra: The colour related to the throat chakra is light blue, so try eating any high vibe foods with a light blue colour or super light foods (blueberries, figs, kelp, and pretty much all fruit). You could also practice public speaking or challenge yourself to express your emotions to others, practice honesty and your listening skills, meditate, do some yoga, use light blue crystals like turquoise and fluorite, and chant “HAM.”

Sixth Chakra: Third Eye Chakra (Ajna Chakra)

Where: The middle of your forehead, slightly above the eyebrows. It’s related to the pituitary gland, eyes, brows, and base of skull.

Emotions/behaviours: The third eye is associated with one’s ability to access their intuition, seek the truth, critically think, access wisdom, quiet the mind, trust their inner guidance, and see through illusions.

Physical signs of imbalance: Poor vision, headaches or migraines, pineal gland calcification, difficulty sleeping, seizures, and other sleep disorders.

Signs of an overactive third eye chakra: Frequent daydreaming, chronic stress, difficulty grounding yourself, feeling lightheaded, and overly intellectual thinking.

Signs of an underactive third eye chakra: Difficulty accessing intuition, meditating, or looking inwards/self-reflecting; experiencing a disconnect between your outer and inner realities; misunderstanding the spiritual realm (or lack of knowledge about our innate spiritual nature).

How to balance the third eye chakra: The colour related to the third eye is dark blue, so you could try consuming high vibe foods with a darker pigment (plums, purple grapes, eggplant, purple kale, purple carrots, or simply tea and other light, all-natural, plant-based beverages). You could also use dark blue crystals like blue onyx, meditate, engage in self reflection, rest the mind, decalcify your pineal gland, do some yoga, or chant “OM.”

Seventh Chakra: Crown Chakra (Sahasrara Chakra)

Where: Centre of the crown of the head. Associated with the pituitary and pineal glands, brain, hypothalamus, cerebral cortex, and central nervous system.

Emotions/behaviours: The crown chakra represents the connection the body, mind, and soul have to the Source of all creation. It also relates to enlightenment, living in the present moment, understanding universal truths (the soul and our connection to one another), and knowing and trusting your inner Self.

Physical signs of imbalance: Dizziness, confusion, mental fog, neurological disorders, exhaustion, nerve pain, schizophrenia or other mental disorders.

Signs of an overactive crown chakra: Difficulty grounding yourself, focusing too much on the inner realm and not enough on Earth, having a “God complex,” or feeling superior or “more enlightened” than others (ie. having a “spiritual ego”).

Signs of an underactive crown chakra: Feeling disconnected from who you truly are, feeling like you constantly need to “soul search,” difficulty accepting our spiritual nature, lacking self awareness, difficulty meditating, and blaming “God” or others for your own actions or life circumstances.

How to balance the crown chakra: The colours associated with the crown chakra are dark purple, violet, and white, so you could try eating extremely light foods such as mushrooms, garlic, ginger, onion, lychee, coconut, and other tropical fruits. It is said that once enlightenment is obtained, one can live off only the elements. As a result, fasting can be a wonderful way to recharge your crown chakra. Spending time in nature, being in direct sunlight, meditating, practicing yoga, chanting “OM” or “AH,” and drinking water can all benefit the crown chakra.

What Does Science Say About Chakras?

Below are the results from a case study done by Dr. Pradeep B. Deshpande, a professor emeritus at the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Louisville, which had over 100 participants in attendance.  Please keep in mind that clinical studies of more than 10,000 patient cases with various health challenges have also been well documented in Russia.

The aligned Chakras indicate that the subject was calm, relaxed, and nourished from their participation in the case study, which involved information on meditation, breathing practices, love, kindness, and intention. You can also observe a smoothing of the energy field before and after the case study workshop. Results like these were consistent with a number of volunteers.

According to Dr. Deshpande:

Each individual sector or portion of the fingertip is connected energetically with specific organs and organ systems such as the respiratory system. When the data of the 10 individual BIO-grams are collated and interpolated, an image of the entire full body energy field is created. An example of the full body energy field from a healthy and unhealthy/emotionally unbalanced individual are shown in Figure 3. The gaps and the reduced emissions and out-of-balance Chakras for the unhealthy individual are quite obvious.

Our chakras have a direct impact on our health, our emotions, and our physical reality, and vice versa. Many people and healers who have recognized this use this knowledge to further understand the health of our bodies and our minds. Even Harvard has studied the physical effects that meditation can have on the brain and the gut, and meditation is a practice that’s literally designed to balance all of our chakras.

Louise Hay is a well-known author who discusses the emotional causes of cancer in her book You Can Heal Your Life. A cancer survivor herself, she cured her disease in only six months using a combination of affirmations, visualization, nutritional cleansing, and psychotherapy. According to Hay, cancer is simply the manifestation of deep hurt, secrets, longstanding resentment, grief and/or hatred.

Radiation oncologist Dr. Carl Simonton and his wife Stephanie Matthews-Simonton, a psychologist, wrote the book Getting Well Again: A Step-by-Step Self-Help Guide to Overcoming Cancer for Patients and Their Families. The book explores how people can affect their disease process through healing their emotions, and one of the recommended ways to do so is through meditation.

CE views the chakra system as a universal truth, one that affects all human beings and even the Earth we live on. Even planet Earth has its own chakras, which you can read about here:

Understanding The Chakras Of Planet Earth

We strongly suggest that if this information resonates with you, research the chakra system further and take note of how your chakras impact your overall life!

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Prophecy theorists say the end of the world is almost here… and survivors will face seven years of absolute HELL

Image: Prophecy theorists say the end of the world is almost here… and survivors will face seven years of absolute HELL

(Natural News)
Many doomsday prophecies relate to the sudden end of the world, but if you believe one of the prophecies that is currently floating around, the end of days is about to set in and it will bring with it seven years of hell.

At the center of this and other similar theories is a rather mysterious planet known as Planet X or Nibiru. Some theorists were convinced the world would end on September 23, when they believed Nibiru would approach Earth and spur the apocalypse. That failed to materialize, and now Christian numerologist David Meade believes that the week of October 21 is when “imminent judgments” will approach.

He said: “The world is not going to end but, as I’ve stated before to reporters, ‘The world as you know it will end. It will change. Normalcy bias will cease.’”

He believes that this apocalypse will entail a seven-year tribulation period that will be followed by the second coming of Jesus. After Earth is wasted, he thinks Jesus is going to build a “kingdom of prosperity” that will endure for 1,000 years.

He says that during the Tribulation, Nibiru will approach the Earth closely, at which point he expects solar flares and a possible electrical grid shutdown that could last weeks or even longer.

In hopes of quelling any potential fears surrounding this Nibiru madness, NASA released a statement saying: “The planet in question, Nibiru, doesn’t exist, so there will be no collision.”

They added:  “The story of Nibiru has been around for years (as has the ‘days of darkness’ tale) and is periodically recycled into new apocalyptic fables.” Meade’s theory appears to be one of them.

Bad times are likely ahead in any case

While all of this seems rather unlikely to most of us, it is true that humanity does seem to be on a path toward destruction. The next seven, 70 and even 700 years could well be filled with bad times on Earth, and we don’t need another mysterious planet to make it happen.

If Meade’s predictions are true, there is very little anyone could do to prepare for it anyway. It seems like a better use of our time and energy would be to focus on preparing for events that are far more likely to occur in our lifetime. Do you have a supply of water and storable organic food? Do you know how to survive if the grid goes down? Do you know what to do – and perhaps more importantly, what not to do – in the case of a nuclear event? How about a hurricane or earthquake? Are you prepared for financial collapse? The truth is that no one knows what will happen in the future, but there are a lot of very realistic potential events that we should learn how to prevent or at least educate ourselves on how to minimize their impact if they do occur.

Because the world is most likely not coming to an end anytime soon, we need to take care of our planet as well as our bodies. We need to stop destroying it by polluting the air and water and putting toxins in our foods and in our bodies, not just for ourselves but also for future generations.

So far, none of the many prophecy theories bandied about have panned out, but it’s hard to deny that mankind does seem to be on a self-destructive path in some ways as people continue to try to go against nature and pay the price for it. The world may not be coming to an end, but our planet could well meet an untimely demise if we’re not careful.

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10 things that make Groove Cruise LA the best party on the Seven Seas

It’s been a week since the best party on the Seven Seas set sail (okay, Pacific Ocean). Groove Cruise LA just wrapped and the #GCFAM are still reliving fond memories, bouncing to imaginary beats and longing for the next cruise to hurry up and set sail (have no fear, GC Miami is just around the corner and tickets are still available here).

Never been on a Groove Cruise and wondering what all the talk is about? Let AXS introduce you to the party that just won’t stop. Groove Cruise is a three night, four day EDM festival set on a cruise ship. 

It gathers some of the hottest DJs from all spectrums of EDM. You have trance, house, progressive and everything in between (and yes, there was even a retro set this year with vinyl spinning on the decks). Pair this along with multiple stages, laser shows, smoke machines and a score of professional dancers and you have the party to end all parties. 

This year’s party was set on fire by the likes of 3lau, Autograf, Dash Berlin, This Ain’t Bristol (who absolutely stole the entire ship right out from under everyone’s feet) and Billy Kenny. With scores of activities from tequila tasting with your favorite DJs, to boot camp classes for those looking to have their puny bodies crushed by the “Crushers,” to a rager of a party at a cliffside mansion in Ensenada, Groove Cruise had it all. 

Let’s take a look at just 10 of the awesome things going on at Groove Cruise LA this year (and bear in mind, these 10 are just a small collection of scores of things people experience throughout their time on this party cruise). 

1. House Party, Kid ‘n Play Style – Just like the classic movie, Groove Cruise throws one hell of a raging house party. This year’s GCLA set sail from Long Beach port to dock in Ensenada. Once on shore, Captains (as Groove Cruise affectionately refers to its party crowd) were shuttled to an exclusive party held at a cliffside mansion. With 3lau, Autograf and Green Velvet hitting the decks, Captains had a blast as they danced and shuffled all afternoon while the ocean breeze kept them nice and cool. Costumes were in abundance, the PLUR was in full force and gratitude filled the air as DJs did their thing and Captains did theirs.

3lau played music he just finished the night before as well as an unreleased track from Oliver Heldens.  

2. Are Those Astronauts on Stage!?! – It sure looked that way as The Dancetronauts absolutely ruled the Anjunabeats Stage during their set. With lasers bouncing off the walls and the Dancetrohotties gracing the stage, all the right pieces were in place to top their awesome performance earlier on the pool deck. The best thing about this late night performance? After they were done and finished breaking down equipment, they stopped to talk with fans as they were carrying boxes out of the theatre. These are some of the nicest guys in the industry who bring incredible performances any and every time they are on stage. 

3. Not Your Typical Shuffleboard – This year’s cruise featured a very special tutorial on shuffle dancing with two stars on board, Elena Cruz and Vanesa Seco (with 3lau on the DJ deck providing some timely beats). From teaching the Running Man to the T-step and everything else, these girls not only demonstrated but also circulated the packed crowd and got everyone involved. Give these girls a follow on Instagram today (click their names above) and watch them effortlessly glide back and forth to the rhythm of their hearts. 

4. Sharing is Caring – If anyone’s mama ever taught them how to share, it’s definitely the DJs on board Groove Cruise. Guests were routinely brought on stage to mix with friends and bring something entirely new to an eager crowd. 3lau brought up ARTY (also known as ALPHA 9) to play his remix of “Is It love” to the cheers of the crowd. 3lau even shared a brand new track he just finished the night before! Love was definitely in the air as he shared this and more at the mansion party. 

5. “I Shake My Little Tush on the Catwalk” – Groove Cruise fashion model, anyone? This year’s cruise featured a fashion model contest leading up to the cruise. Men and women were encouraged to share body positive images and reflections on what makes someone a good representative of the #GCFAM. In true PLUR form, everyone was deemed a winner and encouraged to participate in a late night fashion show. These men and women shook those tushes on the catwalk to the delight of all gathered in the Paris Lounge. And the host, Reace Daniel? He was on a whole other level and made it the madhouse party that it was. 

6. Crusher Camp – Groove Cruise always offers various activities on board to give dance fans a bit of respite from the “untz, untz, untz.” Case in point this year was the Crusher Camp, hosted by boot camp coaches Chris “Crusher” Carey and Suzie Carey. They helped limber people up for another night of raging by putting Captains through a great boot camp session. Fans got those butts ready by doing squats and they worked their cores for a night of letting it all out on the dance floor. 

7. This Ain’t Bristol, Folks! – Every year, the DJs who are brought together on Groove Cruise always bring their best and newest beats for these fans of house, trance and everything else. However, the crew from This Ain’t Bristol (along with Lee Reynolds from Desert Hearts) took things to an entirely new level. To say that their set was on fire would be an understatement. The way they shared and transitioned seamlessly on the DJ deck was nothing less than awe-inspiring. The crowd loved it…for hours. The only thing we can say is, “Please bring back This Ain’t Bristol” on the next Groove Cruise and then the next and the next after that. You get the point. This Ain’t Bristol is incredible and must be experienced live. 

8. The Whet Foundation Charity – If you thought Groove Cruise was all about the music and the sets and the costumes, well, you got it all wrong. At its heart, Groove Cruise is about family. Every year, Groove Cruise adds to that family by continually supporting charitable endeavors that help orphaned and abandoned children to have a better life. As the ship docked early morning in Ensenada, many of the #GCFAM disembarked to go visit this growing family. Even some of the DJs went as well. Convex (read our review of his GCLA set here) told us of his experience with the orphaned children in Ensenada: “I was really stoked to help out with the Destination Donations charity. I got to spend some time with some orphaned and abandoned kids from Mexico. It was really fun hanging out with them…literally kickin’ it. I played some soccer in high school but they showed me I really need to up my game.” For more on the Whet Foundation Charity, click here

9. “Use the Force, Captain!” As with all Groove Cruises, each deck likes to build a special bond together. This often comes through a singular deck theme that ties everyone on that deck to each other. For example, Deck 7’s Star Wars theme had everyone thinking Jedi, Sith and Carbonite Han Solos. It was great to see strangers soon become friends and family through a unique deck theme. It served to tie people together and give them friendships that will last forever. 

10. The PLUR is Real – No matter where you are in life with regard to relationships, physical fitness or family relations, Groove Cruise has always been a place of peace, love, unity and respect. The PLUR is real on this boat, and it continues long after everyone disembarks. If you want to make friends that will relate to you on a whole other level, you might just find them here on Groove Cruise. You’ll be able to dance the night away, encourage one another and even give back with each other to those who are in need. Groove Cruise has everything you need to make memories and friendships that will last forever. PLUR!

Like what you hear about Groove Cruise and want to check it out for yourself? You’re in luck. Groove Cruise Miami sets sail in January and still has cabins available. Grab your tickets here

If that’s coming up a little too soon, make your way over to Groove Cruise Cabo (setting sail October 2018) and get your tickets while there is still time. 

No matter which cruise you choose, you won’t be sorry. See you soon, Captains!

In the meanwhile, check out these sweet moves from Elena Cruz and Vanesa Seco on the deck of GCLA, and have a listen to This Ain’t Bristol below. 

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The Seven Wonders: Travel posters celebrate our lost ancient treasures

These vintage-style travel posters are like wonderfully impossible souvenirs from antiquity.

Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only the Great Pyramid of Giza remains. While it would obviously be impossible to preserve everything that was ever built on this planet, it’s still heart-twangy to ponder all the things we’ve lost. We our a restless species that seems to find it all too easy to knock old things down and build shiny new ones, a practice that not only disrupts our relationship to the past, but also lacks in sustainability.

In the distant future, one can only wonder what lost landmarks nostalgists will mourn – although I can think of many. It’s all a good reminder to get out there and see the modern wonders, large and small, and to savor them. In the meantime, Expedia put together text and travel posters for the ancient ones; now you just need a Twilight Zone travel agent and a time machine and you’ll be all set. First up, a botanical oasis:

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

It’s said that Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar II, constructed the Hanging Gardens as a gift to his wife, Amytis, who longed to be back home in the greenery and lush gardens of her native country, Media (today, north-western Iran).

Both the Greeks and Romans wrote about the Gardens, describing the location as a botanical oasis; prosperous in vegetation, surrounded by exotic plants and herbs, and with tall stone columns. In Hellenic times, many said it was situated in the ancient city of Babylon, which today, is Hillah, Iraq.

However, the actual location of the Hanging Gardens has never been definitely established. The lack of any remains of the ancient site, have left many wondering whether the Hanging Gardens actually existed.

Next: The Lighthouse of Alexandria >>

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Five-Legged, Seven-Footed Calf Was Sold For $3,000 To A “Cow-Worshiping Cult”

A calf born with five legs and seven feet sounds like an animal that must be worth something, especially if it survives. But $3,000? That’s what farmer Abhinav Abrol has been offered (200,000 rupees) for a newborn and seemingly health calf … healthy except for the extra leg and feet. The offer came from a so-called “cow-worshiping cult” that obviously sees some value in this curious creature.

This new born calf has suddenly become a centre of attraction and people are coming from far flung areas to see him.

Residents of the Ludhiana district in Punjab, India, are protective of their friend, Abhinav Abrol, and not just because they, like many others, consider his calf to be a harbinger of good luck – especially if you touch its fifth leg. The extra limb is attached to the calf’s neck. That alone makes it unusual but this leg has three distinct hoofed feet at the end of it. Is this like a triple-word score in the game of good-luck cattle Scrabble?

This new born calf has suddenly become a center of attraction and people are coming from far flung areas to see him. People are really excited to take photos with this calf and some people are treating him as a lucky charm.

A lucky charm and possibly more. As usual, many are connecting it to the Hindu bovine-goddess Kamadhenu – a truly lucky “cow of plenty” who was said to provide her owner with whatever he wanted and is considered to be the mother of all bovines and eleven Hindu gods. Religious experts are quick to point out that Hindus do not “worship” cows but revere them for all of the things they provide.

Of course, you don’t have to be religious to see the value of a five-legged cow that people want to see and touch for good luck. Under the guise of an alleged cow-worshiping cult, someone has offered Abrol nearly $3,000 for the calf – a figure that could be earned back many times over at a buck per lucky rub. It’s happened before with other extra-limbed beasts. So far, Abrol has resisted the offers, saying he’s become attached to the animal and has dedicated it to his father.

His father may want to check the water or the breeding pens on the farm. Having extra limbs is a birth defect called polymelia that can be genetic or caused by outside contaminants. Is it still lucky if the fifth leg came from a nearby nuclear plant?

Let’s hope the five-legged, seven-footed calf brings Abhinav Abrol luck so he doesn’t have to sell out to the “cow-worshiping” cattle cartel.


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Seven members of Syria's White Helmets shot dead by unknown gunmen

Seven member of the Syrian White Helmets rescue group were shot dead by unknown gunmen on Saturday, sparking a manhunt and deep suspicions in the rebel-controlled province of Idlib.

The men were killed in their operations centre in the village of Sarmin at dawn on Saturday. Two of their vehicles as well as several of their distinctive white helmets were stolen, the group said.  

Many White Helmet volunteers have been killed in airstrikes during the six year Syrian war but opposition activists said it was the first time that members had been shot dead like this. 

Photographs from the scene showed the volunteers’ bodies lying across the floor of the centre and blood splashed over the logo of the White Helmets group. All had been shot execution-style at close range. 

A member of the Syrian civil defence volunteers mourns his comrades - Credit: AFP PHOTO / OMAR HAJ KADOURA member of the Syrian civil defence volunteers mourns his comrades - Credit: AFP PHOTO / OMAR HAJ KADOUR

“The heart is saddened, there are tears in our eyes for you departure,” said Raed al-Saleh, the founder of the White Helmets. “May God strengthen us and make us patient for facing this tragedy.”

One of the men killed was Mohammed Abu Kifah, who appeared in a widely-shared video last year where he wept with emotion after rescuing a baby girl from the rubble of a bombed-out building. 

The White Helmets have been lauded by Western countries for saving civilian lives in opposition areas in Syria and in 2016 they narrowly missed out on winning the Nobel Peace prize. 

But the group also operates in areas controlled by jihadists and supporters of the Assad regime regularly accuse them of allying with terrorists.

Idlib province is now mainly controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an Islamist rebel group that is dominated by jihadists linked to al-Qaeda. 

Activists in Idlib said they were baffled by the killings but did not think that HTS was responsible. The group has not targeted White Helmets in the past. 

One theory was that agents of the Assad regime had killed the men to create suspicion and distrust between rival rebel groups. 

The murdered White Helmets were buried on Saturday in Idlib - Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty ImagesThe murdered White Helmets were buried on Saturday in Idlib - Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty Images

HTS recently fought an open battle against Ahrar al-Sham, another prominent rebel group, and there is lingering distrust in Idlib as a result. 

“The ones who did this are clever. They want to make conflicts worse between the rebel groups and show that there is no security and no safety in the opposition areas,” said Abdulkafe al-Hamdo, an English teacher in Idlib. 

Another theory is that the killings were the work of a criminal gang, who wanted to steal equipment from the White Helmets centre. Two vans were taken from the centre as well as several motorcycles and some walkie-talkie equipment. 

One of the vans was later found burned out on the edge of a field several miles from the centre.

The White Helmets centre is close to several other houses in the village of Sarmin but neighbours said they had not heard any gunfire during the night. That raises the possibility the White Helmets were killed with silenced weapons. 

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) has released videos in the past showing its fighters using guns equipped with silencers. The Assad regime also has access to silencers through its allies in Russia and Syria.   

Mr al-Hamdo said members of the group had last been seen on Whatsapp at around 1am, suggesting they were killed sometime after that. 

Gareth Bayley, Britain’s special representative for Syria, condemned the killings. 

HTS has a network of checkpoints around Idlib province and activists said they hoped that the group’s fighters would be able to catch the killers. 

Idlib is one of the last major opposition strongholds in Syria and faces intense bombardment by the Assad regime and its Russian allies.

Many of the fighters and civilians the opposition areas of Aleppo fled to Idlib after the city fell in late 2016.  

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Philippine militants behead seven loggers: police

Manila (AFP) – Islamist militants in the Philippines have beheaded seven local loggers they kidnapped last week in their stronghold in the strife-torn south, police said Monday.

The bodies of the loggers were found on Sunday in a mountainous village on the island of Basilan, local police chief John Cundo told AFP, blaming the killings on a faction of the Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom group based there.

The group of senior Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama abducted and killed the loggers apparently over a local business row rather than for its typical ransom activities, Cundo said.

“This was an act of revenge by Indama who may have blamed the destruction of his rubber plantation on these loggers. The kidnappers did not demand ransom but immediately beheaded the loggers,” Cundo said.

The Abu Sayyaf is a loose network of militants formed in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network.

One faction based on Basilan has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, with members among militants who have been occupying parts of Marawi, the largely Catholic nation’s most important Islamic city, since May.

The militants have withstood a US-backed military offensive in Marawi that has claimed 650 lives and displaced nearly 400,000 people.

President Rodrigo Duterte has imposed martial law across the southern third of the Philippines, including Basilan, to quell the militant threat.

The Abu Sayyaf, blamed for the worst terror attacks in the nation’s history, is known to behead its hostages unless ransom payments are made.

The militants beheaded two Canadian hostages last year and a German captive in February after ransom demands were not met.

Abu Sayyaf militants are holding more than 20 hostages, including several foreigners, in Basilan and another of their bases on the southern island of Sulu, according to the military.

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