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Five Planets Will Cluster Together From April 15
Posted on 2002/4/7 23:47:02 ( 782 reads )


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BANGALORE, INDIA, April 6, 2002: This month Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury will be clearly visible between April 15 and 30, with Mercury joining in to shine in the night sky in the month-end. The best time to see these planets is around seven in the evening, just after sunset in the Western sky. "It will be a rare opportunity for all people to identify planets," says Dr B. S. Shylaja, Educator of the Bangalore Association for Science Education, Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium. "It is being dubbed as a rare alignment, but the planets will not be in alignment (in one straight line)," says Dr Shylaja. But they will all be visible in a cluster, making them easy to spot. One easy way to identify the planets will be to keep the Moon as your mark. On April 14, the planet that appears closest to the Moon will be Venus, on 15 - Mars, on 16 - Saturn, on 17 - Jupiter. Venus will be the brightest of them all and Mars the dullest. In 1997 this phenomenon occurred in November and was a wash-out because of clouds.




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Rice Plants Have More Genes than Human Beings
Posted on 2002/4/7 23:46:02 ( 623 reads )


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WASHINGTON, U.S.A., April 4, 2002: Two research teams, one from the West and one from the East, have collaborated their efforts as part of an international rice project to determine the genetic makeup of the grain. Both teams, the one in California located at Syngenta International Inc. in San Diego and led by Steven Briggs and Stephen Goff, and the one in Beijing led by Huanming Yang, used a scientific technique pioneered by Celera Genomics Corp. of Rockville. This technique, using the power of computers, "shreds an organisms genetic material into bits, reads the genetic letters making up each tiny piece, and puts the whole thing back together, like a jigsaw puzzle." Amazingly the results of the new papers have determined that a rice plant can have a many as 55,000 genes whereas a human being has an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 genes. One rice expert consulted by HPI said this didn't mean much as large sections of the genes have no active function.




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India's PM Consoles Muslims
Posted on 2002/4/6 23:49:02 ( 639 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, April 4, 2002: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday told Muslims of Gujarat that they were not alone at this time of crisis and the entire country was behind them. "You are not alone at this time of crisis. We all are with you. The entire country is with you," he told the riot victims at the Shah Alam Relief camp where nearly 8,000 Muslims affected by the communal violence have taken shelter. In a hard-hitting and emotional outburst, Vajpayee said, "Apne desh mein refugee ho jana, yeh dil ko cheerane wali baat hai ("Becoming a refugee in ones own country is something that pierces the heart). He said India had prestige in the comity of nations for its pluralistic character which has been badly affected by this communal violence. He said "with what face, I do not know, I will go abroad after what all has happened here."




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Attack Ends Hindu-Muslim Harmony in Abasana Village
Posted on 2002/4/6 23:48:02 ( 659 reads )


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ABASANA, GUJARAT, INDIA, April 3, 2002: "You are welcome to Hindu nation's village....." -- such "welcome" boards can be seen lined all along the road as one drives down to this village in Gujarat State. But Abasana is an exception as no such proclamation of Hindutva greets you to it, states this report in the Hindustan Times. This village was peaceful till Tuesday, when "outsiders" attacked two Muslim families, roasted alive five people in the dead of the night, just prior to the visit of India's Prime Minister to Gujarat. The families of Ismailbhai, 50 and Dawoodbhai, 45, had been living in this village, about 85 km from Ahmedabad, for at least two generations. They had no enmity with any one, said the villagers, who appeared too shocked to express their anguish. Madar Singh, the village panchayat sarpanch (like a mayor), told this correspondent that the village had always enjoyed complete harmony. And though only four minority families lived among the 2000-odd population of Durbars and Patels, they had never felt insecure. Even after the statewide turmoil following the Godhra train massacre, there was no trouble in this village. But, some unknown elements ridiculed the villagers for their harmony by sending them parcels containing bangles with a note attached saying, "You cowards could not finish the few......". Following this, the villagers had themselves organized night patrolling on two sides of the village for at least 20 days as a precautionary measure. Night patrolling had been called off only three or four days ago, the sarpanch said. The police, who are stationed at Detroj taluka eight kilometers away, said that they have no clue as to who could be behind the gruesome attack.




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Peacock Sparks Row Over Kavadi Flag in South Africa
Posted on 2002/4/6 23:47:02 ( 1045 reads )


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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, March 31, 2002: Feathers have been ruffled in the Hindu community in this country because some temples used a symbol of a peacock rather than a rooster on their flags for Kavadi festivals. The rooster symbol has been widely used for more than a century, but some temples have upset devotees by replacing it with the peacock. Three Hindu temples, including the Shri Vaithianatha Easvarar Alayam, the oldest and largest in the county, used the peacock. The festival of Kavad is celebrated at scores of temples in South Africa and Asia during January and February to honor the Lord Muruga. Hundreds of devotees carry heavy wooden structures, called kavadi, decorated with rows of marigolds. The kavadi is a portable shrine and offering. The Devasthanam foundation of South African Indian Temples -- an organization representing most temples in the country -- recently convened at an urgent meeting after complaints over the use of the peacock flag. Gonaseelan Moopanar, chairman of the foundation, said at the meeting that his organization was working towards bringing about unification in the Hindu religion regarding religious practices. "We have received complaints from devotees who were confused about what was happening with the different flags being raised, especially the replacing of the traditional image of a rooster with a peacock. According to religious scriptures and the teaching of our elders, the rooster is the correct symbol. It has been the symbol for many years. The peacock symbolizes the transport for Lord Muruga, but the rooster is the victory flag," said Moopanar.




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Court Battle Over Sikh Dagger in Canada
Posted on 2002/4/6 23:46:02 ( 837 reads )


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MONTREAL, CANADA, April 4, 2002: A Sikh family here will soon test the boundaries of religious tolerance with a court battle to win permission for their 12-year-old son to wear his spiritually significant dagger to school. Quebec's Superior Court will take up the issue next week and its decision will set a legal precedent for the province. The issue of whether the dagger, known as a kirpan, should be considered a weapon when brought into schools surfaced nearly ten years ago both in Quebec and the neighboring province of Ontario. In the early 1990s, Ontario's Court of Appeal upheld a previous ruling affirming the right of students and teachers to wear the Sikh ceremonial daggers. The ruling allowed them to carry kirpans in school so long as they were concealed and secured underneath their clothing. Other schools have succeeded in convincing young Sikhs to carry a token kirpan - a pendant, perhaps, or something made of plastic -- to avoid its possible use in school as a weapon. The parents of young Gurbaj Singh reject a replacement, saying it goes against their religion. Gurbaj has worn his kirpan at all times since his baptism and it was only late last year when it fell out that teachers realized he carried one. For the past four months, intercultural specialists, community members and lawyers have held talks aimed at reaching an equitable arrangement over the issue and failed. According to the family's lawyer, the Singh family would agree to have the kirpan wrapped and sewn inside clothing but a token dagger was unacceptable. So far, Gurbaj has neither attended school nor taken the private lessons authorized by the school board while the issue was being discussed.




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Karunamayi Bhagavati Sri Sri Sri Vijayeswari Devi's Tours USA
Posted on 2002/4/6 23:45:02 ( 908 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, In what must surely be the most comprehensive (and grueling) tour of the USA by a Hindu leader in recent times, Sri Karunamayi will give darshan for four months to devotees in 30 cities across North America starting in New York on April 5th. Included in the itinerary are some places seldom visited by travelling swamis, such as Anchorage, Alaska and Boise, Idaho. Join with her in singing devotional songs and receive the blessings of her divine knowledge and love. For more information, click "source" above.




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India's Prime Minister Ashamed of Riots
Posted on 2002/4/5 22:49:02 ( 665 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, April 4, 2002: In an emotionally charged speech, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave a categorical assurance to the riot victims of Ahmedabad that they will be taken care of by the government and that refugee camps will go on as long as needed. He said he was "ashamed" at what had happened in Gujarat and the fact that many people "had become refugees in their own country." Addressing riot victims at the Shah Alam refugee camp on Thursday afternoon, the Prime Minister said he was soon to visit some foreign countries and "I don't know what face I will take to some of the Muslim countries I have to visit". He said when people from other countries ask him about the communal riots, he felt ashamed and does not know what to say. "You are not alone at this time of crisis, we all are with you. The entire country is with you," he told the riot victims. Vajpayee said he was shocked at the incident on Wednesday in which 5 persons had been burnt to death in an Ahmedabad village and said "I wonder whether the devil has overcome us". He said while the train carnage at Godhra was to be condemned, the incidents which followed were equally condemnable.




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Lenasia's Black Hindu Priest Breaks Myths
Posted on 2002/4/5 22:48:02 ( 800 reads )


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LENASIA, JOHANNESBURG, April 5, 2002: He used to be a devout Christian until curiosity took him to a Hindu temple in Lenasia town, 25 miles south of this South African city. Four years later, Meshack Jantjies, 35, is South Africa's first black African Hindu priest. Not only does the deputy resident priest at the Siva Gnana Sabay temple have a large following, but with tremendous effort he is also mastering the Tamil language. Initially, Jantjies joined activities at the temple while working as a cleaner there. When his family joined him to live on the premises, he found more time to engage in deeper studies. "The resident priest then made me a tape which I listened to over and over. I learned to recite prayers from the "Thevaram" (collections of Tamil devotion songs) by doing that. I also joined the adult Tamil classes at the temple." Two years ago, Jantjies was appointed the deputy resident priest. He has been fully accepted by the devotees. "When I stand before the people here and lead the prayers, I feel that I am with my own family," said Jantjies. He goes to great pains to emphasize that he was not recruited or converted by anyone. "I was like a wild animal before joining the temple, and now I have found peace with myself. Jantjies now plans to make it his mission to break prevailing myths among other communities about worship at Hindu temples.




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September 11 Dealt a Blow to India's 'Silicon Valley'
Posted on 2002/4/5 22:47:02 ( 694 reads )


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BANGALORE, INDIA, March 31, 2002: With 925 software firms and 80,000 software engineers, Bangalore has become the Silicon Valley of India, accounting for one quarter of the country's $6.2 billion in software exports. Bay Area notables Cisco, Apple and Hewlett-Packard all have sites here. When the original Silicon Valley sank into recession, Indians were optimistic. With 60 percent of India's software exports already going to the United States, analysts predicted that the slowdown would simply push US employers in the direction of more low-end offshore work. But the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks wreaked severe damage on India's information technology business by accelerating the loss of confidence among American businesses and consumers. Analysts in India say that American IT companies panicked over the potential economic ramifications of Sept 11, suddenly withdrawing their investments in projects abroad. At the same time, budgets were trimmed at US tech firms, and many Indian H-1B visa holders returned home. By the close of 2001, according to Infotech.com, about 10,000 private tech training centers had closed, and the number of students enrolled in such institutes fell by about 30 percent. "It's very sad," said D Jagannath, an Internet facilitator at Wipro, one of India's largest information technology service vendors, "Guys who were working offshore have been thrown back here; people have lost jobs, or had their salaries cut by 30 percent." Bangalore has had some good news of late with companies like AT&T, Sun Microsystems and Cisco Systems heading up new interests here. But the area's vulnerability to the vagaries of the US tech cycle has prompted a search for new markets and made Indian self-reliance a higher priority.




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Hindu Youth Seminar in Malaysia
Posted on 2002/4/5 22:46:02 ( 838 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today





KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, March 17, 2002: Members of Saiva Siddhanta Church (SSC) organized a Hindu Youth Seminar held in Panniru Thirumurai Center last Sunday. The one-day seminar aimed at introducing Sivaya Subramuniyaswami's Trilogy (Dancing, Living, and Merging With Siva) and how Hinduism can be practiced in our day-to-day living. Attended by members and students, the seminar turned out to be a very successful event for the Malaysian youth of SSC. The seminar began at 9:00 am with a Ganesha invocation. Twelve sessions were presented on topics including: The Yamas and Niyamas, Bramhacharya, Ahimsa, Steadfastness, Devotion, Temple and Lord Ganesha, Will Power & Power of Affirmation, Soul Identity, Karma, and the Four Goals of Life (Artha, Dharma, Kama and Moksha). A welcome meal provided by the events organizers and testimony from the participants ended the successful program.




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"No Thanks" to British Grant for Indian Farming
Posted on 2002/4/5 22:45:02 ( 693 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, April 4, 2002: A British government grant of US$90 million to fund farming development in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (AP) will throw millions of farmers out of work, MPs in London have been told. The massive grant is being given to the state government to consolidate small farms into large ones, buy huge machines to sow and harvest crops, introduce new pesticides to promote the growth of produce and to start the growing of genetically-modified (GM) crops. But the funding for the project, known as Vision 2020, from Britain's Department for International Development (DFID), has provoked fury from farmers and international charities. A delegation of farmers and agricultural scientists from the Indian state has flown to London and has already met scores of MPs, demanding that the grant be cancelled. The powerful environmental and human rights organizations Greenpeace, Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth and the Small Farms Alliance are supporting the farmers. The Institute of Development Studies and the International Institute for Environment are also supporting the campaign by the farmers' delegation against British interference in traditional and family farming in the huge, but poor Indian state. Delegation leader P.V. Satheesh said: "Vision 2020 is an aid package for big farmers and corporations who supply machines, pesticides and who want to promote untested GM crops. The British grant will result in huge corporation-owned farms, instead of hundreds of small ones which give a livelihood and jobs to millions of peasant farmers and their families. These farmers will be thrown off their land and in AP, there is no other work for them."




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Jammu Temple Closes Doors for Purification First Time in 150 Years
Posted on 2002/4/2 22:49:02 ( 707 reads )


Source: The Hindu





SRINAGAR, INDIA, March 31, 2002: The gory incident of Saturday at Jammu's historic Raghunath temple led to the closure of its doors for the first time in 150 years. Upset over what happened at the place of worship the head priest, Pandit V. Shastri, said, "The doors had to be closed for the first time in 150 years for devotees and the common public.'' The priest was busy with the puja when he heard the gun shots. "I could not believe that the three SSB jawans posted there were dead. I had shook hands with them a few moments before,'' he told this correspondent over the phone. One priest had an encounter with one of the militants who blew himself off within the compound. A large number of priests and devotees gathered at the temple to pray for peace.




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Constitutional Panel Recommends Change in Definition of Hinduism
Posted on 2002/4/2 22:48:02 ( 736 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 3, 2002: In a recognition of their separate identity, the Constitution Review Commission has recommended that Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism should be treated as religions distinct from Hinduism. Presently, a constitutional provision groups them together. The existing explanation II of Article 25 of the Constitution (Freedom of Conscience and Free Profession, Practice and Propagation of Religion) says reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly. "Explanation II to Article 25 should be omitted," according to Justice M. N. Venkatachalian Commission, which submitted its report to the government on Sunday. It appears such a change would allow Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists to claim minority religion status in India, presently only granted to Christians and Muslims, with the attendant privileges to operate their institutions without government interference, and to teach their religion in their schools operated with government funds.




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Officials Stop Child Marriage
Posted on 2002/4/2 22:47:02 ( 661 reads )


Source: The Hindu





KARIMNAGAR, ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA, March 31, 2002: The local administration prevented the marriage of a 15-year-old girl here. The authorities got the marriage postponed while they explain to the family that there are laws against marriage at that age in India. The legal age for marriage for girls in India is 18 and for boys 21. In the State of Hawaii, USA, the legal age for both boys and girls is 18. They can marry at 16 or 17 with the consent of the parents, and at 15 with the consent of the parents and a family court judge. In Iran, the legal age for girls is nine.




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