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Help for Mansarovar Pilgrims
Posted on 2002/5/14 9:45:02 ( 668 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, May 12, 2002: The state government will help pilgrims from Gujarat who have been selected by the Ministry of External Affairs for the June 2002 Kailas-Mansarovar Yatra. Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board chairman, Bhupendra Khatri said that the ministry conducted a drawing to select the participants for the pilgrimage. He said pilgrims from the state should contact the board office at Gandhinagar with a copy of the telegram received by them from the ministry announcing their selection for the Yatra. The board will provide a monetary gift to those completing the journey for spiritual purposes. In addition, the participants will receive mountaineering and trekking gear, train fare to New Delhi and free accommodations. The board office will also provide any additional information or guidance necessary for the pilgrims.




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Astrology Mela a Big Hit
Posted on 2002/5/14 9:44:02 ( 847 reads )


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LUCKNOW, INDIA, May 13, 2002: An Astrology-Mela, organized at Sanatam Ashram on Sunday to mark its 42nd foundation day, drew people from all walks of life to enquire about their health, career and marriage with renowned astrologers of the country who had assembled there for the two-day conference. As one entered the Sanatan Ashram, stalls full of books and literature on astrology welcomed them. Inside, the halls were packed with people coming to take free astrology consultations. Pundits and astrologers were busy drawing natal charts and helping people with their future plans, those having proficiency in vastu-shastra were directing curious people with suggestions about changes to be made in their houses. Earlier, the camp was inaugurated by Swami Sanatan Shri, chief astrologer at Sanatan Ashram. Over 500 enthusiastic participants attended the camp which continued on Monday.




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Hinduism Today Correspondent Honored
Posted on 2002/5/14 9:43:02 ( 723 reads )


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HOUSTON, TEXAS, May 13, 2002: Hinduism Today magazine's Houston-based correspondent, Kalyani Giri, was one of fifteen Asian women journalists honored at a luncheon held on May 13 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown. The event was initiated for the first time by the newly-devised Asia Houston Network, a nonprofit organization affiliated to the Mayor's office created to help build stronger ties between the Asian and mainstream American cultures. Titled "Beauty, Brains, Power: Asian Women In Media" the award recognized honorees for their contribution to print, radio and television media. Giri was honored for her commitment to community coverage in the local publication Indo-American News, as well as for her affiliation to the celebrated award-winning international magazine, Kauai-based Hinduism Today.




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Hindus Threatened in Holland
Posted on 2002/5/13 9:49:02 ( 747 reads )


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HOLLAND, May 13, 2002: Twenty Hindu organizations here were greatly alarmed at the receipt of threatening letters containing a yellow powder (harmless, as it turned out). The obscenity-laced letter read in part, "Death to all Hindu dogs. We demand the following from you: 1. Stop your Hindu organizations and cancel all organization activity. 2. Deposit within three weeks all your cashflow in name of our Islamic mosque in your town. There are many, so search yourself and contact them. We want to receive more than 10,000 EURO from you within three weeks. 3. Close your building and stop all activities. Hindus may not have a religion here, because The Netherlands has now become a Muslim nation, Mecca of the Western world, of Europe. This is your punishment for Hindus who vote for Pim Fortuyn." The original letter is available in Dutch at www.agni.nl/dreigbrieven/secretcell.htm. One organization that received a letter is Agni, info@agni.nl. Our contacts in Holland said that a TV news show reported Hindu organizations had asked their members to vote for Pim Fortuyn, a far-right politician running for parliament in the May 15 elections who was assassinated May 6 by a leftist. However, direct inquiries with Hindu organizations have not found any who recommended their members vote for Fortuyn. He advocated strict immigration limits and integration of admitted immigrants with Dutch society. His party platform singled out Muslims as having culture aspects "diametrically opposed to the desired integration and emancipation, such as arranged marriages and honor revenges." The police are taking the matter very seriously and investigating.




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"Hinduism is India"
Posted on 2002/5/13 9:48:02 ( 822 reads )


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INDIA, May 13, 2002: Francois Gautier's latest essay, "Hinduism is India," is available at "source" above. It begins, "Since the Gujarat riots, it looks as if a battle between two radically different Indias is happening right now, under our own eyes; and the outcome of this battle will decide what kind of India we will have in the 21st century. India's human rights groups, many of India's finest intellectuals, the communists, the Congress, many politicians -- in fact a major chunk of India's elite population -- assert in the strongest terms that on one side you find an India which is communal, mistreats, or even kills minorities; tries to impose its majority feelings and way of life on the others and is generally attempting to create a Hindu state; on the other, they continue, you have the secular and democratic forces of this country, the journalists, activists, Catholic priests, Muslim liberals, who truly believe that circumstances have come to such a boil after the Ayodhya episode and the Gujarat massacre, that India has to be saved from Hindu fundamentalists for its own good. This is on the surface, because history shows us that what appears as truthful, is often false and misleading and what popular opinion holds as false is time and again the truth, which is attacked by dark forces by decrying it, denying it, or belittling it. Thus, if you examine closely the theory of the good secular Muslim/ Christian/Marxist, versus the bad/dangerous/ fundamentalist Hindu, you are bound to come-up against several deep contradictions. First, historically, Hindus have been the least fundamentalist people in the world: Never trying to impose their creed upon others by the power of the sword, like Christianity or Islam, or even by the non-violent means of preaching, like Buddhism. Hinduism has also proved over the ages its infinite tolerance towards other religions, giving refuge to all persecuted minorities in the world, whether Parsis, Syrian Christians, Jews, or Tibetans today."




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Book by Toshio Yamanouchi
Posted on 2002/5/13 9:47:02 ( 773 reads )


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TOKYO, JAPAN, May 13, 2002: Ramachandra Tantry of Japan kindly informs us that Toshio Yamanouchi's book on Hindu Gods in Japan is available by contacting Mr. Yamanouchi at "source" above. The book is in Japanese. It has beautiful photographs, and is priced at Yen 4,800 plus tax, about US$50. There is presently a display of his work at the Okura Museum, in front of Hotel Okura, in Tokyo, until May 26.




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Obesity Blamed on Vegetable Oil and Refined Sugar Consumption
Posted on 2002/5/13 9:46:02 ( 623 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 22, 2002: "Globally obesity has become a problem as more individuals consume vegetable oil and refined sugar in their diets," so says the medical journal, Lancet. While Coca-Cola and McDonalds hamburgers have contributed to the problem in some countries, K. Srinath Reddy, a Professor of Cardiology at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, agrees that increased fat consumption along with sedentary lifestyles is a problem among middle-class Indians. The article also goes on to say that more than half of the world's cases of newly diagnosed diabetes every day come from India and China, and that obesity in China has tripled in the last eight years.




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Hindus and Sikhs Still Face Threats in Afghanistan
Posted on 2002/5/13 9:45:02 ( 670 reads )


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AFGHANISTAN, May 9, 2002: They no longer have to wear yellow badges like the Jews under Nazi rule, but little else has changed for Afghanistan's religious minorities, the Hindus and Sikhs. Four months ago, a new government took office, promising equal rights for all Afghans. Yet many Hindus and Sikhs say that life is no better -- and in some cases, is worse -- under the new Afghan flag. Despite the end of official discrimination and kind words from the new leaders in Kabul, Sikhs and Hindus have no schools for their children, no access to government jobs or university education, no seats on the commission that set rules for electing a new government, and no protection from warlords who have seized their lands and homes. ''During the Taliban, we were first put in jail and then forced to wear yellow turbans and brown skullcaps, but at least we had law and order,'' said Bajan Singh, 27, a Sikh. Because of their tiny numbers and related faiths, the Hindu and Sikh communities in Afghanistan have merged, sharing temples and residential compounds.




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India Court Throws Out Prosecution Over Inter-Caste Elopement
Posted on 2002/5/10 9:49:02 ( 666 reads )


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ALLAHABAD, INDIA, May 9, 2002: An Indian court has urged state authorities to prevent the persecution of couples from different communities. The Allahabad High Court dismissed a private prosecution for kidnapping brought by a father against the young man his daughter had eloped with. The young couple -- from different communities within India's caste system -- told the court that their parents had threatened to kill them if they did not seek a divorce. Describing the caste system as a great evil that was hindering the country's progress, the court said parents could not legally stop a person who was an adult from marrying someone from another caste or community. Indian law recognizes inter-caste marriages, but certain communities, especially in rural areas, considers them to be contrary to tradition.




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Skipping Stones Announces 2002 Book Awards
Posted on 2002/5/10 9:48:02 ( 633 reads )


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EUGENE, OREGON, May 9, 2002: Each year Skipping Stones, a multicultural children's magazine, recognizes outstanding books, teaching resources and educational videos from both large and small publishers and producers. Titles selected in the four different categories for the 2002 awards encourage close relationships with nature and/or promote respect and understanding of cultural diversity in our world. The four areas are ecology and nature, multicultural and international books, teaching resources and educational videos. Editor Arun Narayan Toke does an excellent job in finding diverse resource material which is very valuable for education of tomorrow's world citizens. Click "source" above for the complete list of books.




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Vivekananda Kendra Appeals for Funds for Arunachal Pradesh Project
Posted on 2002/5/10 9:47:02 ( 698 reads )


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KANYAKUMARI, INDIA, May 10, 2002: Vivekananda Kendra undertakes activities across India in the fields of education, rural development, socio-economic programs, personality development and management camps, yoga and publications. They have given high priority to Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland as these states in the northeast region are being culturally invaded by alien forces which destroy the very physical and emotional integration of the people and disconnect this area from the rest of the country. They have started a new project, Arun Jyoti, in Arunachal Pradesh state to developed effective contact among Arunachal tribals and to create an awareness that they belong to the great country of India and thereby develop in them a sense of pride in India's tradition and culture. They are seeking donations to fund a US$61,000 project engaging 35 full-time Kendra workers for various service activities including medical camps; publishing literature on local festivals, traditions and culture; translating Ramakrishna-Vivekananda literature into the local languages; youth activities, libraries and tours of India. For more information, contact A. Balakrishnan, vice-president, at "source" above, or write Vivekanandapuram, Kanyakumari, 629 702, India.




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South Africa Hanuman Temple Closed After Attack by Thugs
Posted on 2002/5/9 9:49:02 ( 654 reads )


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NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA, May 8, 2002: Indian farmers in KwaDukuza on the North Coast say they have become sitting ducks for criminals preying on remote farmsteads. Recent attacks on farmers and their workers in Doesburg and Nonoti, two communities outside the town, have prompted the local farm watch to beef up security in the area. Some owners say they may be forced to pack up and leave the farms on which they grew up if the crime spree continues. Police believe former farm laborers, released from prison after serving time for petty offenses, are behind the recent surge in crime in these semi-rural areas. Farmers were forced to abandon a Hanuman temple because of the escalating crime, moving the deities to a safe place. Naren Harikrishna, vice-chairman of the Darnall Farmers' Association, said criminals were targeting not only Indians but also African and white farmers. The KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union said farm attacks had increased throughout the province. Koos Marais, who mans the crime desk, said 30 attacks and four murders had been recorded since the beginning of the year.




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Hindu Students Break the Ice at Afrikaans Varsity
Posted on 2002/5/9 9:48:02 ( 701 reads )


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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, May 8, 2002: Deshanya Thambi has founded the first Hindu Student Society at Rand Afrikaans University, dispelling the perception that you need to be a white Afrikaner to feel at home on campus. The 22-year-old BCom student says Hindus have always wanted a society of their own, but complacently accepted that they were not legitimate enough to be recognized. "But there is such a need for such an organization," says Thambi. "It is not, as most people believe, restricted to Indian students or Hindus. Anyone can join. Our aims are to interact with other student communities and to keep students informed. As Hindus, it is important for us to maintain our identity and, in doing that, we also want to create a consciousness of striving towards solidarity, peace and tolerance. If we cannot live harmoniously with each other when we are essentially of the same religion, then we will not be able to live harmoniously with the rest of South Africans."




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India Losing Child-Labor Battle
Posted on 2002/5/9 9:47:02 ( 691 reads )


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DELHI, INDIA, May 7, 2002: Ten years after India ratified a UN convention pledging to protect children's rights, the country continues to be home to the world's largest number of child laborers. It is believed there are up to 100 million children working in homes, factories, shops, fields, brothels and on the streets of rural and urban India. Both government officials and activists agree that one of the root causes for the prevalence of child labor is excruciating poverty. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that 40% of India's citizens were living in abject poverty in the mid-1990s and most believe that figure has not changed. Many aid agencies are critical of what they consider the government's overemphasis on the link between poverty and child labor and say it is, rather, an example of the lack of political will to implement a host of laws that are already in place to prevent and regulate the employment of children. India is a signatory to more than 120 ILO conventions, all of which seek to eliminate child labor. According to a leading non-governmental organization called Campaign Against Child Labor, current legislation suffers from too many loopholes. The group said the legislation's distinction between hazardous and non-hazardous occupations was arbitrary and the law overlooks up to 85% of child labor working in areas outside registered establishments. Many activists say that what is far more important than laws banning child labor is a political commitment to primary education. They say the solution lies in the government working closely with aid agencies in the field to help combat child labor with literacy programs.




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Over 240 Killed in Fresh Violence in Nepal
Posted on 2002/5/8 9:49:02 ( 721 reads )


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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, May 8, 2002: More than 240 police, soldiers and rebels have been killed in fresh violence in Nepal, as Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said he had secured US support for his crackdown against the Maoist insurgency. Some 140 Nepalese police and soldiers were killed when guerrillas surrounded a joint army-police security post set up last month at Gama in Rolpa, 298 km west of Kathmandu. The Maoists torched the security station after a gunfight lasting hours. The defense ministry confirmed "a large number" of Maoists attacked the security post but did not give casualty figures. In other battles large numbers of Maoists have been killed by the army.




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