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Three Drowned at Ganesha Chaturthi Immersions
Posted on 2001/9/6 23:45:02 ( 601 reads )


Source: The Hindu





CHENNAI, INDIA, August 31, 2001: A youth was drowned and two others were reported missing at sea while attempting to immerse a Ganesa icon, giving Friday's Vinayaka Chathurthi procession a tragic dimension. Eyewitnesses said a group of youth ventured into the sea about 4:30 p.m. to immerse a medium-sized idol at the Seerani Arangam, when a strong undertow dragged two fifteen-year-olds away. Prem Kumar (19) and another person went to their rescue, but were also caught in the current. While the second person was rescued, Prem was drowned and his body recovered a few km away. Several youths, who formed part of the processions from different parts, were seen hurling small icons from the shores, without any consideration for those standing in knee-deep water. This they went on doing despite police cautions asking them not to venture into the sea following the report of the drowning. Likewise, youth from the neighboring slums risked their lives and salvaged the wooden sticks on which the icons were rested. Otherwise, the procession, organized by the Hindu Makkal Katchi and allied groups was incident-free.




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Tribals to Intensify Agitation
Posted on 2001/9/6 23:44:02 ( 596 reads )


Source: The Hindu





THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, September 3, 2001: The Adivasi-Dalit Action Council has resolved to intensify its stir launched on the eve of Thiruvonam day to highlight its long-standing demands. Adivasis, the tribal people of India, planned to block the Onam pageantry to be held at the culmination of the week-long celebrations. Even as hundreds of Adivasis were facing death due to starvation, the Government was squandering hundreds of thousands of rupees on Onam celebrations, Council chairperson alleged. One of the major demands of the Council is the withdrawal of the Tribal Protection Bill adopted by the Kerala Assembly in 1999, which in effect was detrimental to the interests of the more than 350,000 tribal population in the State. Around 200,000 tribals continue to be landless and remained alienated in their own territory. The council was also concerned about the organized attempts by the "liquor mafia" to lure tribal youth into the liquor smuggling business. Those who resisted such offers and petty favors were allegedly being tortured and killed.




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Catholic Children in Catholic Schools Likely to Leave Faith
Posted on 2001/9/6 23:43:02 ( 648 reads )


Source: Religion News Service





LEEDS, ENGLAND, September 7, 2001: That the UK's Roman Catholic schools may play a roll in discouraging young Catholics from practicing their faith came under scrutiny at the annual meeting of the National Conference of Priests of England and Wales. Priests from northwest England said that in their experience teenagers who went to Catholic schools were the most likely to give up practicing their faith, while most of the teenagers who did come to church were those attending non-Catholic schools. "Young people at Catholic schools who go to Mass are subject to a kind of insidious bullying by their peers to give it up," said Canon Brendan Hoban from Wallasey, England. He asked whether the phenomenon was confined to his region or was more widespread, and what could be done about it. "I sometimes wonder if Catholic high schools are worth preserving," said the Rev. Peter Fox from Widnes, England. However, their proposal for an investigation into the "complex reasons why young Catholics cease to practice their faith during their school years" failed to gain enough support from the conference to be adopted as a formal resolution.




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Non-Hindus Allowed to Pray at Jagannath Temple
Posted on 2001/9/5 23:49:02 ( 680 reads )


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BHUBANESHWAR, INDIA, August 27, 2001: Entering a temple to partake of the darshan exuding from the deity in the inner sanctum, is what makes Hindu temple worship so uplifting and special. The famous Jagannath temple in the state of Orissa has denied this privilege to non-Hindus. Priests (pandas) have been adamant about upholding this rule. According to the article, "Mahatma Gandhi was prevented from entering the temple as he was accompanied by Harijans, while Acharya Vinobha Bhave faced the wrath of the pandas for being accompanied by Muslims." To honor the tradition, but still provide non-Hindus an opportunity to view the Lord, the Orissa tourism department has built an elevated platform on the northern side of the temple. From this vantage point, non-Hindus can pray and pay respects to the Lord.




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Puri Priests Object to Designer Saris
Posted on 2001/9/5 23:48:02 ( 620 reads )


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PURI, INDIA, September 4, 2001: The Jagannath Temple administration is peeved at the depiction of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Suvadra on a range of saris by a designer house of Kolkata. Himanshu Sekhar Samantaray, administrator of Sri Jagannath temple has asked the company for the immediate withdrawal of the saris from the market or else the temple administration would initiate legal proceedings. According to Samantaray the deities have been projected in a derogatory manner on the saris, which have shocked devotees.




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Colored Rain and Vanishing Wells Alarm Populace in State of Kerala
Posted on 2001/9/5 23:47:02 ( 665 reads )


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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, August 29, 2001: Collapsing wells and colored rain in many parts of the State of Kerala has led to speculation as to the cause by layman and scientist alike. Dr. Rajasekharam has taken a different and more traditional approach to the phenomena. After studying an ancient Sanskrit text called Charaka Samhita on Ayurveda, dated over 5,000 years ago, it was revealed that vanishing wells, red showers, rings around celestial bodies, meteorite landings, and other unusual happenings have a significance. According to the text, "Such incidents could be triggered by an imbalance in the environmental equilibrium possibly by human intervention." As Ayurveda treatises emphasize the harmonious correlation between man and his environment, the imbalance as indicated by the unnatural phenomena could be attributed to pollution. Dr. Rajasekharam has recommended that studies concentrate on atmospheric conditions as revealed in the Charaka Samhita. Presently, studies by scientists have focused on geological factors.




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Stem Cell Research Continues in India
Posted on 2001/9/5 23:46:02 ( 659 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 27, 2001: Two Indian research organizations possess colonies of embryonic stem cells, known as cell lines, which can develop into many other types of tissues and which scientists believe could create new treatments for diabetes and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. The release today of a list of existing stem cell lines by the U.S. National Institutes of Health indicated that the two organizations, the National Center for Biological Sciences in Bangalore and Reliance Life Sciences in Bombay, have a total of 10 cell lines. Indian scientists said the Bush policy which grants federal money for work on 64 cell lines derived before Aug. 9, creates a windfall for researchers in such countries as India that do not face such constraints. "A lack of [U.S.] funding would not impede research," said Firuza Parikh, founder and director of Reliance Life Sciences.




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Hindu University of America Inaugurates Campus
Posted on 2001/9/5 23:45:02 ( 684 reads )


Source: Mahir Meghani





ORLANDO, FLORIDA, September 2, 2001: The Hindu University of America has acquired a 12-acre site in Orlando. The University is incorporated in the state of Florida and is authorized by the Education Department, Florida, to conduct Master and Doctoral Programs in Hindu Studies. The Hindu University has been conducting "distant teaching programs" and intensive courses for some time. With the acquisition of the Florida property, it will begin its programs at the new Orlando campus. The inauguration of the campus is scheduled for September 8, 2001. The program will start with an early morning puja, followed by an introduction of the newly appointed faculty. A number of eminent scholars and academics from India and the US will participate. For further information contact Braham R. Aggarwal, (407) 352-2889.




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Archbishop; Mother Teresa "Happily" Underwent Exorcism
Posted on 2001/9/5 23:44:02 ( 733 reads )


Source: Religion News Service





KOLKATA, INDIA, September 6, 2001: Amid fears she had become the victim of the devil, Mother Teresa "happily agreed" to undergo an exorcism, according to the Archbishop of Calcutta. Several months before her death, the 87-year-old Catholic nun turned to the procedure after suffering from sleeplessness during a stay at the Calcutta hospital where she was treated for heart problems, Henry Sebastian D'Souza said. "When doctors said they could not find a medical reason for her sleeplessness, I thought she might be getting attacked by the devil," said D'Souza. "I wanted her to calm down and asked a priest, in the name of the church, to perform an exorcism prayer on her. She happily agreed." After the half-hour procedure, the Macedonia-born nun "slept very well that night," he said. The revelation has slightly embarrassed the Catholic Church, as candidates for sainthood are unusual subjects for exorcisms.




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Govt Says No to Genetically Engineered Seeds
Posted on 2001/9/4 23:49:02 ( 630 reads )


Source: Morning India Business News





NEW DELHI, INDIA, Aug. 31, 2001: The Indian government said today it has not approved the commercial release of genetically engineered seeds in the country. All genetically modified seeds require authorization under the Environment Protection Act 1989 before they can be introduced into the Indian environment, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers S B Mookherjee told the Rajya Sabha. He said authorization is provided by the genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests after satisfactory evaluation of bio-safety from the use of such material including safety to humans and animal health.




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Now, the Evangelization of Britain
Posted on 2001/9/4 23:48:02 ( 665 reads )


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UNITED KINGDOM, Aug. 31, 2001: Britain has been targeted by determined foreigners with shocking intentions. They want to convert the British, who embraced Christianity 1,500 years ago, to Christianity. These 21st-century evangelists aren't called reverse-missionaries, but that is what they are. Solomon Joseph, a Christian priest from south India, has been working in Bradford for the past two years, attempting to provide the city's churches with a bridge to the Sikh, Muslim and Hindu communities. "I knew no one. I had no friends in other faiths. I spoke a different language even from the other Indians here. And everyone, white and Asian, mistrusted me." There are reckoned to be more than 1,000 missionaries from 60 countries working in Britain now because Christian faith is believed to be flagging. "The pendulum has swung completely," observes Solomon Joseph in Bradford. "In the 19th century, Britain shipped not only missionaries to India but even the bricks and stained glass to build churches. Now, when the Hindu community in Leicester builds its new temple, a huge statue is carved in India and shipped in 5,000 pieces to Britain."




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Stone Writ Could Hold Key to Ayodhya
Posted on 2001/9/4 23:47:02 ( 595 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, Sept. 1, 2001: A 12th-century stone inscription recovered from the debris of the disputed structure at Ayodhya could hold the key to the resolution of the temple-mosque imbroglio. The 20-line inscription comprising 30 verses in Sanskrit was found embedded in the lower portion of a wall of the structure that was demolished on December 6, 1992. Experts believe it could provide conclusive proof of the existence of a Ram temple at the site in the 12th century and even earlier. The inscription was shown in photos in some publications at the time. It would be common for a temple to contain such an inscription detailing the date of construction and the reigning king.




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V.S. Naipaul Novel Released on Film
Posted on 2001/9/4 23:46:02 ( 670 reads )


Source: Anil Mahabir, Trinidad





NEW YORK, NEW YORK, September 5, 2001: Ismail Merchant's latest film, THE MYSTIC MASSEUR, based on one of VS Naipaul's novels, is scheduled to be released next week in cinemas in New York. Shot in Naipaul's birthplace, Trinidad, and set among the Indo-Trinidadian community, the film traces the story of rural born Ganesh Ramsumair- from writer, to revered mystic, to colonial statesman, during the 1940's and 1950's. Ganesh (played by Aasif Mandvi), whose life offers a slice of Trinidadian history, is a character shaped by invention and ambition as much as it is by the forces of British Colonialism. After struggling to become a writer, Ganesh is finally convinced by his aged aunt that he has been given "a gift" of mystic powers which can be harnessed for profit making. It is this special "power" (which the people perceives he really has), with all its Trinidadian Hindu configurations, which allow Ganesh to become "Pundit Ganesh," then member of the Legislative Council. The Mystic Masseur is the first of Naipaul's novels that he has allowed to be adapted in film.




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Plaster Of Paris Ganesha Idols Still a Hazard
Posted on 2001/9/4 23:45:02 ( 736 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, August 31, 2001: Ganapati was again being crafted in plaster of paris this year, despite the efforts of NGOs and the police to encourage the return to traditional clay. As a result, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is readying its hammers and crowbars to break the Ganesha idols to pieces as plaster of paris creates environmental hazards and does not dissolve into the sea as the traditional clay would. Plaster of paris also contains chemicals that contribute to the environmental and ecological disaster and pollute the sea, rendering it dangerous for fish, fowl and human beings. The police and NGOs waged a campaign this year to educate people about the importance of making their Ganapati's eco-friendly. But, it was difficult to persuade them to return to clay idols instead of plaster ones.




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Physicist Hawking Warns Humans About Computer Intelligence
Posted on 2001/9/4 23:44:02 ( 618 reads )


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BERLIN, GERMANY, September 1, 2001: Famed British physicist Stephen Hawking says if humans hope to compete with the rising tide of artificial intelligence, they'll have to improve through genetic engineering. Hawking said science could increase the complexity of DNA and "improve" human beings. He conceded that it would be a long process, "but we should follow this road if we want biological systems to remain superior to electronic ones. In contrast with our intellect, computers double their performance every 18 months," he added. "So the danger is real that they could develop intelligence and take over the world."




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