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OMNI Online, a Journal Of Spiritual And Religious Care
Posted on 2001/10/24 22:48:02 ( 673 reads )


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ONTARIO, CANADA, October 19, 2001: The previously published OMNI journal has undergone a change in the form of communication from a printed format to a web site. A product of the Ontario Multifaith Council on Spiritual & Religious Care, OMNI features articles and reports on the latest issues and developments within the practice of chaplaincy ministry in multifaith settings. The Journal provides critical reviews of recent books that pertain to the work of chaplains providing spiritual and religious care. OMNI encourages and supports research on new developments in pastoral practice and education, including innovative models for the training of chaplains, on-call clergy, and volunteers. In a recent article, "An Understanding of Jainism and the Importance of Non-Violence," Prakash Mody, who is the Jain representative on the Ontario Multifaith Council, provides a brief overview of the basic beliefs, values, and symbols of Jainism, together with a statement about the significance of non-violence within Jain belief system.




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The Plight of Thai Elephants
Posted on 2001/10/24 22:47:02 ( 599 reads )


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BANGKOK, THAILAND, October 18, 2001: After stepping on a land mine when she was looking for food, Motola, a three-ton elephant, had her left front foot amputated. It has been two years since the accident and the wounded leg has not healed properly. As a result even though more than US$125,000 has been raised for the pachyderm's recovery, the prosthetic foot cannot be fitted until the leg has totally healed. Motola's misfortune has brought to everyone's attention the plight of Thailand's working elephants. In the last 30 years, their numbers have dwindled from 10,000 to around 2,000.




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A Little Flavor of Bengal for Durga Puja
Posted on 2001/10/21 22:49:02 ( 701 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, October 22, 2001: Bengalis all over the world will involve themselves with the five-day long Durga puja celebrations that form the center of their religious calendar. The Bengal Cultural Association of India here is celebrating its 64th year. With a budget of US$21,000, the organizers have commissioned an 18-foot image of Goddess Durga from famed Kolkata artist Mukunda Pal. The organizers hope to create an authentic Bengali Durga celebration, while still incorporating Gujarati programs.




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Improving America on Ghandi Day
Posted on 2001/10/21 22:48:02 ( 650 reads )


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WASHINGTON, DC,October 17, 2001: In the wake of a national tragedy, thousands of professionals and students united in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi to volunteer in their local communities. On October 6, the weekend anniversary of Gandhi's birth, close to 5,000 volunteers around the country collectively contributed 25,000 hours of community service towards improving their communities. The annual event, now in its third year, is organized by South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT), a national nonprofit organization that fosters leadership and civic engagement among South Asian Americans. Jeet Bindra, chairman of SAALT said, "While many Americans were unable to directly help those in need in New York and Washington, DC, we can honor their memory by helping those who need us in our own neighborhoods. Sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, comforting the sick, preserving the natural beauty of our country will make us stronger as a nation and defeat the purpose of those who attacked us."




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Indian Americans March Against Terrorism
Posted on 2001/10/21 22:47:02 ( 615 reads )


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CANTON TOWNSHIP, DETROIT, October 21, 2001: Hundreds of Metro Detroit's Indian Americans were expected in Canton Township this weekend to protest terrorist activities with a Unity Walk. The event is geared toward local Asian Indians, in addition to area businesses and officials, and sponsored by the Ford Asian Indian Association. Area students will sing the national anthem for both the United States and India. "We're doing this in memory of all that's happened since Sept. 11," said Arvin Ramachandran, a member of the Ford group. The Unity Walk was scheduled to be held from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday at Heritage Park, on Canton Center Road between Cherry Hill and Palmer.




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Honoring Our Ancestors
Posted on 2001/10/21 22:46:02 ( 680 reads )


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CANDLER, NORTH CAROLINA, October 13, 2001: Inspiring us all to honor and cherish our ancestors is Maya Ma's message. She offers simple and heart-warming ways that we can do so, such as "Making a conscious effort not to injure, pollute, or otherwise compromise the earth, her rivers, animals, plants, and environment." When we give of ourselves, our time, energy, and money, our ancestors are pleased and bless us now and assist us when we make our own transition. Maya Ma also shared her vision of the many lost souls after their tragic death at the World Trade Center. Quoting her words," It is the spirits of the ancestors who come to guide our shed bodies onto their journeys as we begin our ascent into deep space." She feels that our ancestors are not pleased with our pursuit of wealth and our neglect of the human spirit in all beings. In her appeal, she motivates each of us to honor our ancestors on Pitri Paksha, which falls at the end of September or the beginning of early October.




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Top Navaratri Dance Venues Shut Down in Mumbai
Posted on 2001/10/20 22:49:02 ( 588 reads )


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MUMBAI INDIA, October 19, 2001: Navaratri celebrations in Bombay will be without the heady festivities of the dandiya ras dancing clubs this year, thanks to environmental deadlines set by the Supreme Court that prohibits playing loud music after 10 pm. Organizers of the biggest dandiyas in the city have closed their venues after they failed to get favorable response from the central and state governments to their request to extend the 10 pm deadline of the Supreme Court to 12:30 am. Two of the biggest venues shut down rather than abide by the curfew.




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Temple Storming Embarrasses BJP
Posted on 2001/10/20 22:48:02 ( 628 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 20, 2001: If the VHP's storming of the Ayodhya complex two days ago was a well-crafted political strategy to benefit the BJP, it has gone awry. The move to register a case against the erring leaders is being seen as an indication of the pressure building up on account of public opinion on the episode. In January this year, Vajpayee had to put an end to a controversy over his remark that the temple was an expression of national sentiment. "Should any organization attempt to disturb the status quo," he said, "the government will not remain a silent spectator and adopt delaying tactics as unfortunately happened eight years ago." The PM is likely to reinforce this position again either in Parliament or outside. Home Minister L K Advani has "disapproved" of the VHP's action of forcibly entering the makeshift temple at Ayodhya. VHP leaders today dared the government to take action against them. "The government has a right to acquire land but has no right to acquire our right to worship. No court has stopped us from offering prayers," said VHP International General Secretary Praveenbhai Togaidya. Additional stories are at: www.hindustantimes.com/nonfram/201001/detNAT04.asp and www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/oct19/ivhp.htm\




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Bringing Hindu Dharma to Teachers in Houston
Posted on 2001/10/20 22:47:02 ( 658 reads )


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HOUSTON, TEXAS, October 21, 2001: Houston will be using the VHP-UK book "Explaining Hindu Dharma: A Guide to Teachers" for seminars starting Nov. 8, 2001, for teachers in the greater Houston area. The three-hour seminar will target mainly social studies which are World History and World Geography. Short lectures with PowerPoint presentations, along with PowerPoint presentations on CDROM will be available for the teachers to print out transparencies for use in class. Paperback copies of the text will be available to those attending at a reduced price. Teachers will be made aware of opportunities for guided tours of Sri Meenakshi Temple in Pearland. This is an effort of the local Hindu community under the banner of World Hindu Council, Houston Chapter, in the hope that it can become a model for similar seminars nationwide. For further information and/or for follow-up information after the first seminar contact Beth Kulkarni, President, World Hindu Council, Houston Chapter, at "source" above.




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No Loudspeakers After 10:00 PM for Mumbai Navaratri Dancing
Posted on 2001/10/19 22:49:02 ( 759 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, October 19, 2001: Dance organizers have decided not to challenge the state government's orders prohibiting the use of loudspeakers after 10:00 pm. For the first time in 20 years, Mumbai's famous garba dance was not held on the first night of Navratri as a mark of protest. Traditionally, garba celebrations go on till well past midnight. However, this new rule has hit the organizers hard. There are 15 major dance mandals (locations) in the city and ticket sales alone amount to thousands in profits each year. With the festivities cut short, organizers say they will lose much money Jitendra Mehta, Chairman, Ghatkopar Gujarat Samaj revealed, "We sell most of the tickets three days before the festival starts. Because of this whole dispute over the new order, in the last three days, we have sold very few tickets." This decision has however come as a welcome respite for the residents who live near the mandals and have to bear the brunt of loudspeakers throughout the night. Visit www.dandiyazone.com/navaratri.html for a thorough introduction to Navaratri, Mumbai style.




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Police Charged in Museum Theft
Posted on 2001/10/19 22:48:02 ( 652 reads )


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HYDERABAD, INDIA, October 20, 2001: Two constables of Andhra Pradesh Special Police, posted on security duty at the NTR Museum, were arrested by the Hyderabad police on a charge of stealing six sandalwood idols from the museum. The police said the duo -- B Anjaneyulu and Govind Singh -- were among the platoon of the APSP tenth battalion deployed at the museum to look after its security following a direction from the Andhra Pradesh high court. The duo were on duty on October 16 when they stole the six sandalwood idols from the museum after gaining entry through a window. On a tip-off, the police intercepted a police van, in which the erring cops were carrying the stolen idols, at Pebbair in neighboring Mehbubnagar district. They had packed the idols in gunny bags and hid them under the seats and were proceeding to their houses located at Beechupalli village, when they were caught.




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India Pressured to Release Bt Cotton Seed
Posted on 2001/10/19 22:47:02 ( 621 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 19, 2001: The Environmental Ministry yesterday burned a crop of Bt cotton grown by a farmer who bought the seed from a company in Hyderabad. Bt Cotton is genetically manipulated cotton that produces a protein which is toxic to the bollworm, the cotton crop's primary pest. The toxin in Bt cotton exists in nature as Bacillus thuringgiensis (Bt). A gene from this bacteria is introduced into the cotton gene which then helps the plant to kill the pest when it feeds on it. This article complains at length about the government's failure to release the seed to the public, even though both Chinese and American farmers are allowed to use it, resulting in greater yields. The article, however, does not mention the recent findings in America that farmers must follow the Environmental Protection Agency's stringent guidelines for this cotton which require them to plant five acres of non-Bt cotton to 95 acres of Bt cotton. This program allows the bollworm to thrive in the non-Bt cotton without the impact of Bt. If this is not done, and the fields are planted entirely in Bt cotton, the bollworm will rapidly develop resistance to Bt, and the infestation levels rise. A study this year discovered that a substantial portion of American farmers are not obeying the guidelines. See the EPA website at: www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopest ... bt_cotton_refuge_2001.htm




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Hindu Chaplain Certified by US Professional Board
Posted on 2001/10/18 22:49:02 ( 939 reads )


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BUCKINGHAM, VIRGINIA, October 17, 2001: Integral Yoga International and Satchidananda Ashram announce that Swami Sarvaanandaji Saraswati, Ph.D., a senior disciple of H.H. Sri Swami Satchidanandaji Maharaj, has been approved as a Hindu Board Certified Chaplain. Mataji will be officially certified during the March, 2002, annual meeting of the Association of Professional Chaplains. The APC certifies chaplains who meet stringent standards in theological education and pastoral care (see "source" above for more information). Dr. Swami Sarvananda Ma has been a disciple of Sri Swami Satchidanandaji since 1975. She is a long-time resident of Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville. Dr. Sarvaanandaji received her training in chaplaincy through the Department of Chaplaincy Services and Pastoral Education at the University of Virginia Health System. She currently serves as an adjunct chaplain there. As a part of a team of ecumenical chaplains, Mataji helps to care for all patients, families and staff regarding all manner of concerns -- from providing comfort, to discussing a dire diagnosis from the view of spirituality. The chaplains are available to serve one and all. Dr. Swami Sarvaananda may be reached for additional information at swsarva@yogaville.org. Other Hindus in America wishing to avail themselves of this certification procedure can visit "source" above.




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Calls for Applications to Humanities Center Residential Research Institute.
Posted on 2001/10/18 22:48:02 ( 717 reads )


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HANOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE, October 19, 2001: A multidisciplinary forum will bring together selected Dartmouth faculty and scholars from other US and foreign institutions to pursue research related to the topic of "Conversion" at the Dartmouth Humanities Center Residential Research Institute. The Institute will be directed by Kevin Reinhart, Professor of Religion, and Dennis Washburn, Professor of Japanese. The aim of the Institute is to explore the concept of conversion as it operated during the 19th and 20th centuries in the Ottoman domain, India and Japan. External Fellows will receive a stipend of $5,000 and will be expected to contribute to an edited collection that will emerge from the work of the Institute. Deadline for applications is January 31, 2002. For further information and application information please e-mail "source" above.




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Organic Farming and Peaceful Culture
Posted on 2001/10/18 22:47:02 ( 647 reads )


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UNITY, MAINE, September 23, 2001: When Dr. Vandana Shiva attended the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and the Common Ground Country Fair in September, she brought with her a stirring message. Honored as an international leader in her promotion of organic farming, she flew from her home in Doon Valley, India, on a flight after the terrorist attacks. With courage and fortitude, she has advocated organic methods of farming as the core and essence of a peaceful society. When plants are able to grow by natural means in rich soil untouched by the violence of chemicals, the result is peaceful farmers and families. Dr. Vandana herself has seen the results of chemically ravaged land farmed by huge corporations in the Punjab. Local farmers, unable to make a living for their families, have lost their dignity and respect. After praising the MOFGA for their work in endorsing organic farming, Dr. Vandana drew parallels in this area with her own organic farm in the foothills of the Himalayas. For her complete speech at the event, click on "source" above.




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