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US Gives Grant for Varendra Museum in Bangladesh
Posted on 2002/3/8 22:48:02 ( 583 reads )


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BANGLADESH, March 1, 2002: United States Ambassador to Bangladesh Mary Ann Peters presented a check from the US government amounting to $10,800 US to Dr Faisul Islam Farouqui, Vice-Chancellor of Rajshahi University and Dr Sayefuddin Chowdhury, Director, Varendra Museum at the US Embassy yesterday, says a US Embassy press release. The money, from the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation, will be used to improve the lighting and display of precious and historic materials housed in the Varendra Research Museum in Rajshahi. For more than 70 years, the Varendra Museum has been a vital resource for scholars and researchers intent on study of the arts, culture and history of Bengal. The museum houses the richest and largest collection of Buddhist and Hindu stone sculptures in this country. It is also a repository of priceless manuscripts, books and periodicals. The museum houses an outstanding collection of Bangla document and rare Bengali, Arabic and Sanskrit manuscripts as well as other rare document in Persian and Sanskrit.




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Pranayam Has Scientific Basis, Says US Expert
Posted on 2002/3/8 22:47:02 ( 953 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 3, 2002: A senior psychiatrist at Columbia University, New York, Dr. Richard P Brown, says certain yogic breathing techniques may help people connect better with each other and regulate their dietary intake and thereby help lose weight. In New Delhi to participate in a two-day international symposium on Sudarshan Kriya, Pranayam and consciousness, organized by the Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in association with the Times Foundation, Brown has been experimenting with meditation techniques to cure his patients of depression. Dr. Brown explains, yogic breathing techniques such as Pranayam and Sudarshan Kriya can activate certain positive bodily processes. Rapid breathing activates a nerve, Vagus, that connects with the diaphragm and some of the organs, including the heart and the brain. As a result of this stimulation, messages are sent along three different pathways that tell the body to shut off areas of worry while awakening areas that control feelings of happiness in the brain. Dr. Brown began quite early on in his practice of psychiatry looking for natural treatments. The best results so far have been with Sudarshan Kriya he said. "Doctors need to understand that there is a scientific basis to it and it is not just a suggestion. It helps control eating disorders as well."




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Hinduism Today Seeks Sabarimala Pilgrimage Photos
Posted on 2002/3/8 22:46:02 ( 651 reads )


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KAUAI, HAWAII, March 9, 2002: Hinduism Today is doing a major story on the famed Sabarimala pilgrimage of Kerala in its next issue. The editors are seeking high quality photos of the temple and its surroundings during the height of the pilgrimage. If you can supply these, or know someone who can, please e-mail "source" above.




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McDonald's Apologizes, Pays Damages for Meat-Spiked French Fries
Posted on 2002/3/7 22:49:02 ( 593 reads )


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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 8, 2002: Fast food behemoth McDonald's has agreed to publicly apologize to "Hindus, vegetarians and others" for failing to disclose the use of animal products in foods it identified as vegetarian. The company will also donate $10 million to concerns supported by these groups as part of a settlement in a class-action lawsuit initiated by Seattle-based Indian-American attorney Harish Bharti. Starting next month, pending court approval, the fast food giant will insert advertisements in newspapers apologizing for its mistake. "We acknowledge that, upon our switch to vegetable oil in the early 1990s for the purpose of reducing cholesterol, mistakes were made in communicating to the public and customers about the ingredients in our French fries and hash browns. Those mistakes included instances in which French fries and hash browns sold at US restaurants were improperly identified as vegetarian," the ads will say. "We regret we did not provide these customers with complete information, and we sincerely apologize for any hardship that these miscommunications have caused among Hindus, vegetarians and others," the settlement-ad will say. As a result of the flap, and under the terms of the settlement, McDonald's has also promised to enhance its disclosure standards and create a Dietary Practice/Vegetarian Advisory Panel of experts that will advise the fast food chain on dietary restrictions and guidelines. The lawsuit arose from an episode in April 2001 when some Indian-American vegetarians on the West Coast accused McDonald's of misleading customers by presenting its golden fries as vegetarian. While McDonald did phase out animal fat in favor of vegetable oil for frying, it was later revealed that the firm continued to use "miniscule" amounts of beef flavoring to "enhance" taste.




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South Africa Interfaith Conference Tackles HIV/AIDS
Posted on 2002/3/7 22:48:02 ( 625 reads )


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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, March 6, 2002: More than 100 leaders from 15 faiths began a two-day conference considering the role religion plays in responding to HIV/AIDS. Tamil, Hindu, Zionist Christian Church, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, African Independent Churches, Church of Nazareth, Telegu and Bahal representatives as well as representatives from several Christian denominations are attending the workshop. At the conference opening, Health Minister Manto Tahabalala-Msimang emphasized that a strengthened faith-based sector response had the potential to "reap measurable results" both in terms of providing care and reducing the prevailing stigma surrounding the epidemic. The minister said the challenge lay in ensuring each community of faith finds its own place within the HIV/AIDS care system.




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UK Hindu Students Forum Petitions Against Beckham Painting
Posted on 2002/3/7 22:47:02 ( 1363 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, March 7, 2002: The National Hindu Students Forum (UK) has launched a petition against the depiction of David, Victoria & Brooklyn Beckham as Lord Siva, Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesh. Their press release from Shrien Dewani states, "This painting caused offense to the society's members because of the manner in which it appears to mock the importance of Hindu deities and portray the Beckham family as Hindu Gods. This petition is not an attack on the artists or any form of free artistic expression." Beckham is a famed England footballer.




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Bali's Female Puppet Master
Posted on 2002/3/7 22:46:02 ( 692 reads )


Source: Jakarta Post





BALI, INDONESIA, February 22, 2002: Ni Nyoman Tjandri is one of the few female puppet masters in Indonesia. Born to an artist father, Tjandri was familiar with and fond of all forms of the Balinese performing arts, especially the arja, a Balinese traditional drama that incorporates music and dance. The talented Tjandri gradually developed superb dance and vocal techniques through interaction with her father, I Made Kredek, and fellow artists. After her father's death, Tjandri decided to learn the Kawi language to continue his efforts to master Balinese literature. She went to the well-known dalang I Nyoman Ganjreng. Instead of giving Kawi lessons, Nyoman Ganjreng gave the girl four puppet figures. The puppet master told her she had to master the Kawi language through wayang stories, mostly derived from Ancient Indian and East Javanese epics and legends. In 1979 Tjandri decided to learn the art of the dalang seriously and intensively. All wayang performances present a story, which is told by a dalang. A dalang must master at least 100 stories and be able to enliven each of the characters portrayed with distinctive vocal sounds. Being a dalang, one must have plenty of physical stamina and a thorough knowledge of both the ancient Kawi language and high and low Balinese language, as well as its literature. Tjandri is frequently invited to perform both on local and overseas stages.




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Skipping Stones Magazine Calls for Submissions
Posted on 2002/3/7 22:45:02 ( 629 reads )


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EUGENE, OREGON, March 8, 2002: The Skipping Stones Youth Honor Awards recognize students ages 7-17 for their contributions to multicultural awareness, peace and nonviolence, social responsibility, and nature and ecology. The 2002 award themes are: 1. http: //hip /or hype? The Internet's Impact on Multicultural Issues, and 2. World Wide Web of Nature: Technology and the Web of Life. Ten articles, poems, and photos that illustrate these themes are selected for publication in Skipping Stones magazine (Vol 14, no. 4), a multi-cultural, multi-religious magazine for youth. The entry fee of $3 (Low-income: free) brings everyone who enters a copy of the issue featuring winners. Send by June 20, 2002. For more information, contact: Youth Awards, Skipping Stones Magazine, P.O. Box 3939, Eugene, OR 97403-0939; (541) 342-4956; or e-mail "source" above.




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Where to Find Leather-Free Goods
Posted on 2002/3/7 22:44:02 ( 606 reads )


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USA, March 7, 2002: The Vegetarian Resource group offers an online "Shoppers Guide to Leather Alternatives." The companies listed are separated into several categories. The Vegan Mail order section includes companies that sell only completely animal-free products. The Catalogs, Companies, and Stores section lists companies that sell or manufacture both leather-free and leather goods. The remaining sections of this guide list specific styles of shoes and goods and the companies who make them or the stores/catalogs that carry them. The above website offers sources for leather-free: athletic shoes, dress shoes, work boots, tool belts, coats and jackets, belts, bags, and wallets, ballet shoes, balls, baseball gloves and more.




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International Hindi Conference Set for Trinidad
Posted on 2002/3/7 22:43:02 ( 604 reads )


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TRINIDAD, CARIBBEAN, March 3, 2002: An International Hindi Conference organized by The University of the West Indies and The Hindi Foundation of Trinidad & Tobago, titled "Hindi Language, Literature and Culture: A Caribbean Perspective," will be held on May 17-19, 2002, at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. Among the topics to be presented and discussed are: Experience in teaching Hindi (language, literature, and culture), and Improving the quality of Hindi courses available in the Caribbean. Academics and scholars are invited to contribute presentations in such areas as the development of materials for teaching Hindi as a foreign language and designing computer based activities. For details of the conference, including deadlines, registration, travel and accommodations, contact the above source.




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Child Abuse Revelations in Catholic Church Continue
Posted on 2002/3/7 22:42:02 ( 675 reads )


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FLORIDA, USA, March 8, 2002: A Roman Catholic bishop has admitted sexually abusing a student when he was a rector at a Missouri seminary more than 25 years ago, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday. Calling his behavior "naive," Rev. Anthony J. O'Connell acknowledged the abuse of his former student, 40-year-old Christopher Dixon, in an interview with the newspaper Thursday night after he signed a statement that day with Florida's other bishops denouncing such abuse. Dixon, who became a priest but later left the clergy, accuses O'Connell of taking him to bed after he sought out O'Connell for counseling at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Hannibal, Mo. Dixon said the abuse began in the ninth grade and continued through the 12th grade. Dixon made similar allegations against two other priests, including the Rev. Manus Daly, who allegedly abused Dixon at the Hannibal seminary, and the Rev. John Fischer, who Dixon said abused him at a Catholic school prior to Dixon entering the seminary. Daly was removed from a Marceline, Mo., church this week and Fischer was removed from the priesthood in 1993 after allegations involving other children. In a brief statement released Thursday, Florida's 10 bishops -- including O'Connell -- called sexual abuse "both criminal and sinful" and assured their 2.2 million followers that the church has procedures to deal with allegations of sexual misconduct. The statement was released in the wake of growing allegations of sexual abuse by priests in Boston and around the country. Sam Barbaro, a spokesman for the Palm Beach Diocese, had no immediate comment Friday and wouldn't say what action, if any, would be taken against O'Connell. O'Connell was named as a bishop in November 1998. Earlier in 1998, his predecessor in Palm Beach, J. Keith Symons, became the first U.S. bishop to resign due to sexual involvement with boys. In 1993, Archbishop Robert Sanchez of Santa Fe, N.M., resigned over involvements with several women, some teen-agers. Overseas, the Vatican is investigating allegations against Archbishop Juliusz Paetz of Poznan, Poland. Austria's primate, Cardinal Hans Groer, was accused of abusing boys in 1995 and went into exile but did not directly admit guilt. U.S. Archbishop Eugene Marino of Atlanta and Bishop G. Patrick Ziemann of Santa Rosa, Calif., resigned after sex scandals involving adults.




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Kanchi Seer Offers New Peace Formula for Temple
Posted on 2002/3/6 22:49:02 ( 600 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 05, 2002: After a series of meetings with central ministers, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Muslim leaders, Swami Jayendra Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, the latest mediator on the Ayodhya issue, said that the VHP had agreed to await the verdict of the Supreme Court on the disputed site. He also endorsed the VHP stand that bhoomi pujan (land blessing) be permitted on March 15 on the land acquired by the Centre in 1993 and that this land should be handed over to the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas well before June 2, when the 100-day yagna in Ayodhya ends. He asked the Muslim Personal Law Board to give its approval for the handing over of this acquired land. But VHP Vice President Giriraj Kishore said no such proposal had been made yet. The religious leader also held meetings with representatives of the Muslim Personal Law Board and other Muslim leaders. Board spokesman Kamaal Far ooqi said the seer had made a proposal for a solution which would combine "both dialogue and a court settlement."




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Death Toll in Riots Reaches 677
Posted on 2002/3/6 22:48:02 ( 657 reads )


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GANDHINAGAR, INDIA, March 7, 2002: Nine days after communal violence first broke out in Gujarat, the death toll now stands at 667, including the 60 persons who died in the attack on the Sabarmati Express on February 27. Official sources said the death toll in the attack on the train at Godhra had risen from 58 to 60 with the death of two persons who were seriously injured in the attack which sparked off widespread reprisals across the state. Figures available at the police control room in the state capital state that 820 persons with serious injuries are still admitted to various hospitals, many of them in a critical condition. Almost 157 of the deaths have taken place in stabbings and the rest have succumbed to burn injuries and gun-shots. Ten bodies were recovered from a village well at Ajanwaga in Godhra district on Wednesday. The victims were reportedly taking shelter in a primary school when they were surrounded by a mob and thrown into the well. The official statistics say that 99 persons have been killed in police firing. The security forces have fired 5176 rounds of ammunition at the mobs as well as 7276 tear gas shells. Nearly 2459 houses, 2082 shops, 1084 cabins and 448 vehicles, including 12 buses, have been set on fire.




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Washington Post Says "Provocation Helped Set India Train Fire"
Posted on 2002/3/6 22:47:02 ( 903 reads )


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GODHRA, INDIA, March 5, 2002: In this article by Rajiv Chandrasekaran of the Washington Post Foreign Service, Hindus are accused of provoking the attack on the Sabarmati Express. The article reads in part, "For two days, as the Sabarmati Express snaked across northern India, some Hindu activists in cars S-5 and S-6 carried on like hooligans. They exposed themselves to other passengers. They pulled headscarves off Muslim women. They evicted a family of four in the middle of the night for refusing to join in chants glorifying the Hindu god Ram. They failed to pay for the tea and snacks they consumed at each stop. When the train pulled into this hardscrabble town in western India on the morning of Feb. 27, the reputation of its rowdiest passengers preceded it. When they refused to pay for their food, Muslim boys among the vendors at Godhra station stormed the train. When the confrontation was over, 58 Hindu passengers were dead, incinerated by a fire that consumed cars S-5 and S-6. In retaliation, mobs of enraged Hindus descended on Muslim communities across Gujarat state, igniting riots that killed more than 500 people, India's worst religious violence in a decade. Indian officials have characterized the riots as Hindu rage for an attack on innocent activists. However, interviews with passengers on the train, witnesses to the incident and police and railway officials suggest that the train fire was not a premeditated ambush by young Muslims, but rather a spontaneous argument, provoked by the Hindu activists, that went out of control. 'Both sides were at fault,' said a police official here, who spoke on condition of anonymity. 'The provocation was there and the reaction was strong. But no one had imagined all this would turn into such a big tragedy.' B.K. Nanavati, the deputy police superintendent in Godhra, said the investigation does not support the contention by Gujarat's chief minister, Narendra Modi, that the assault on the train was a 'terrorist attack.' 'It was not preplanned,' Nanavati said. 'It was a sudden, provocative incident.'" The article goes on to say that word of the Hindus' behavior had reached the Godhra station where the vendors prepared for a fight. One did start, the train left the station, but was stopped half a mile later in a Muslim area where a large crowd gathered. Police say one or more Muslims started a fire between cars S-5 and S-6, where most of the people died.




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Bookies Held for Taking Bets on Riots
Posted on 2002/3/6 22:46:02 ( 665 reads )


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JAIPUR, INDIA, March 7, 2002: In one of the more bizarre developments surrounding the Godhra killings, Police have arrested 81 bookies offering bets on the likelihood of religious riots breaking out in a state bordering Gujarat, where hundreds of people were killed in Hindu-Muslim violence. Two of the bookies, Genda Lal and Satyanarain, were offering odds of 1-to-4 to 1-to-6 in favor of riots taking place in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan state, Superintendent of Police Anand Shrivastav said Thursday. Shrivastav said the bookies had created panic in Jaipur by spreading rumors of impending riots to drum up their business. They offered odds on a curfew being clamped in the old part of Jaipur as well as on estimated casualties, he said.




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