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South Africa's Tamil Eisteddfod a Success.
Posted on 2001/5/31 23:48:02 ( 1121 reads )


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LAUDIUM, JOHANNESBURG, May 30, 2001: Almost 400 Tamil children from all across the Gauteng province of South Africa attended an annual children's eisteddfod, "cultural festival" in Afrikaans, hosted by the Gauteng Tamil Federation at the mainly Indian area of Laudium. Students were from various Tamil schools run as community service by the body. "This is a record," said the president of the federation, Naga Moodley. "We have virtually doubled the record of the past, with 373 children participating in 41 different categories that cover the full spectrum of our language, arts and culture." Mickey Chetty, president of the national South African Tamil Federation (SATF) and a special guest at the eisteddfod, was very pleased that the formerly dissenting organizations representing local Tamils came together in unity. Chetty said that plans were being made for World Tamil Conference to be hosted jointly by the International Movement for Tamil Culture, based in Canada, and the SATF in December in Durban.




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Shankaracharya Invited to China
Posted on 2001/5/31 23:47:02 ( 687 reads )


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BEIJING, CHINA, May 24, 2001: The Shankaracharya of Kanchi Peetham in Tamil Nadu, India, received an official invitation from the Chinese government's Association of International Friendly Contact to visit in October this year. The details of Jayendra Saraswati's visit are being worked out. In his seven-day tour, the Paramacharya will meet President Li Peng and other top Chinese leaders. It is not known why the Chinese extended this invitation to a top Hindu priest. The government has previously refused a visa to even the Catholic Pope. This is the first invitation of a religious figure by rulers who regard religion as a hindrance in the material progress of a nation.




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No More Easter Holiday In U.K.
Posted on 2001/5/31 23:46:02 ( 634 reads )


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UNITED KINGDOM, May 27, 2001: Schools are to be told to scrap Easter holidays and replace them with a non-religious "spring break." Despite objections from Christian pressure groups, supporters of the proposals say a specific Easter holiday is incompatible with a modern school system because it is on a different date each year. Moving to a fixed holiday would reduce teacher stress, pupil truancy and improve exam results. The proposals say schools should celebrate non-Christian festivals such as Diwali and the end of Ramadan. Head teachers will be allowed ten "flexible days" each year to hold holidays which reflect the ethnic make-up of the school. "Many schools will now have as many as 12 religions represented in the classroom," said Chris Price, the head of the Independent Commission on the School Year. "We want schools to be able to reflect that."




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No Schooling for 59 Million Indian Children
Posted on 2001/5/31 23:45:02 ( 565 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, MAY 27, 2001: According to a report on the state of children in India, almost 59 million children in India under the age of 14 years are not attending school. The report was prepared as a follow-up to the World Summit for Children 2000, and notes the progress made at the end of the decade gone by in India. Among the reports findings were high instances of malnutrition among children under three and the lack of equal access to nutrition, health and medical care for females. The report spells out compulsory elementary education for all children by the year 2010 and special attention to the growth, education and development to the girl child.




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New Construction for Australia's Oldest Hindu Temple
Posted on 2001/5/31 23:44:02 ( 620 reads )


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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, MAY 29, 2001: Construction has begun on a new temple building for Australia's first Hindu temple, Sri Mandir, located in the western suburb of Auburn. Approximately half of the estimated US$256,000 construction costs had been raised before the groundbreaking ceremony last Sunday. The temple will have Radha and Krishna as the presiding deities. Seven other deities will also be installed. Construction is expected to to be completed by Diwali in October.




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Hindu Leader Attacked in India
Posted on 2001/5/30 23:49:02 ( 577 reads )


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FAIZABAD, INDIA, 28 May, 2001: A prominent Hindu leader, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, and four others were injured in a bomb attack in the northern Indian town of Faizabad. Das was attacked while on his way to bathe in a nearby river. His condition is not said to be serious. He is a member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and is one of the leaders of a group that has pledged to build a temple on the ruins of Babri Masjid in the town of Ayodhya.




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Iran Government and Canada's Jews Condemn Taliban's Dress Code
Posted on 2001/5/30 23:48:02 ( 550 reads )


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DUBAI, May 29, 2001: Iran has condemned the "discriminatory decision adopted by the Taliban" regarding Hindus in Afghanistan where Taliban militia recently issued an edict making it compulsory for all Hindus to wear a piece of yellow cloth as an identity label. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamidreza Assefi said that such moves are clear cases of religious discrimination against ethnic minorities, which is condemned in Islam. "An action of this kind goes against the progressive ideas of our religion and mars the image of Muslims around the globe," Assefi was quoted as saying. A similar condemnation was issued today by the Canadian Jewish Congress, which states in part, "We urge the Canadian government to convey to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan the horror of all Canadians at such clear discrimination against a religious minority and to call for this odious measure to be rescinded immediately." The Congress email is pacific@istar.ca.




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Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan Targeted for Christian Conversion
Posted on 2001/5/30 23:47:02 ( 601 reads )


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BHUTAN, May 30, 2001: Nestled in the Himalayan Mountains between Tibet, China and India, the tiny nation of Bhutan prides itself as being the only Buddhist kingdom in the world, where a tough stance is taken to keep Christian conversion tactics at bay. The native people, known as Drupka, make up a majority of Bhutan's approximately 600,000 citizens and are among one of 1,981 people groups in the world who, the Christian International Mission Board (IMB) claims, have never heard about Jesus Christ. The IMB is targeting this area which they call "The Last Frontier" during its 15th Day of Prayer and Fasting for World Evangelism. Randy Sprinkle, director of the IMB's International Prayer Strategy Office, hopes to deliver those "mired in Tibetan Buddhism and mixed with mysticism and superstition" and introduce them to the message of salvation through Jesus Christ," said Sprinkle. Bhutan's king has advised his people they would be better off following one religion: Buddhism.




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The Evolution of the Indian Immigrant in America
Posted on 2001/5/30 23:46:02 ( 551 reads )


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WASHINGTON,D.C., May 27, 2001: Over forty years ago, the first influx of Indian Asian immigrants arrived in America. As students and professionals, they paved the way for Indian immigrants to become one of the highest-paid immigrant groups. These hard-working and persevering forefathers also suffered cultural shock, from the unavailability of their favorite curries and spices to no place to worship their beloved Gods, plus the challenge of avoiding American casual dating. While many of these new immigrants remained strong in their religious and cultural beliefs and starting building temples in America, explains this report, many fell into the confusion of the ABCD-American born confused Desi, those who tried to fit into the American life-style of eating meat and dating. However in the last ten years things have changed drastically for Asian-Indian immigrants. They often arrive to start working on high-tech jobs in a community where many Indians have already settled. A Hindu Temple is usually within driving distance, Indian grocery stores are around the corner, and music and videos in their native tongue are readily available. Since 1990 in Washington, D.C. alone, the Indian population has grown from 38,000 to more than 78,000 in the year 2000 by attracting the high-tech educated sector. Indian families are now competing with each other to see how Indian they can be by practicing their religion, encouraging their children to develop the Indian arts and speaking their native tongue.




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Russia Condemns Taliban's Newest Decree
Posted on 2001/5/27 23:49:02 ( 574 reads )


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MOSCOW, RUSSIA, May 25, 2001: In a statement issued by the Russian foreign ministry, Russia strongly condemns the Taliban militia's decree to impose a dress code on Afghanistan's Hindu and Sikh minorities. The decree is forcing non-Muslim minorities, particularly Hindus and Sikhs, to wear identity labels and prohibits them from living in the same house occupied by Muslims. Calling the Taliban acts a violation of fundamental human rights, Russia has demanded that the Taliban regime show unconditional respect for the rights of followers of all religions. The Russian press and national television channels have strongly criticized the edict comparing it to Adolf Hitler's inhuman treatment of Jews forcing them to wear yellow Star Of David's during World war II.




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Jews in American Sympathize with Hindus in Afghanistan
Posted on 2001/5/27 23:48:02 ( 544 reads )


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NEW YORK, May 25, 2001: Jews in America are outraged at the similarity between the Taliban action and the yellow star with the word "Jude," that they were coerced into wearing when the Nazis came into power. The Jewish Anti-Defamation League in New York called the order, "a stark reminder of the exclusionary tactics employed by the Nazis as a precursor to genocide." The article also says the Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, finds the yellow cloth humiliating. She is pessimistic that the United States or the United Nations will be able to prevent the mistreatment of Hindus in Afghanistan.




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Vedic Sciences to be Revived on Indian University Campus
Posted on 2001/5/27 23:47:02 ( 562 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 26, 2001: With the word "Yoga" and "expanding consciousness" everyday household words in America, India has taken on the task of restoring the ancient sciences in its colleges and universities. The University Grants Commission, responsible for much funding, is reviving courses on Vedic Astrology and Priestly Rituals, as well as establishing a new course on "human consciousness and yogic sciences." Jawarharlal Nehru University has taken on the task of defining the curriculum for the new course and the chief proctor, Harbans Mukhia, interprets it as "a study of the biological, cultural, social, philosophical aspect of how a human being evolves." Recommending that universities offer one, two and three year courses, the UGC foresees a separate department for these studies and will be forwarding a model curriculum as a guideline. Eight other universities have shown interest in reviving the ancient sciences on their campus.




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Delhi Students Flock to Temples During Exams
Posted on 2001/5/27 23:46:02 ( 604 reads )


Source: Hindustan Times





NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 1, 2001: Delhi's temples have noticed an influx of well-dressed students offering prayers for success in their examples. In this curious article, the practice is referred to as a "phobia," and a Marxist professor is approvingly quoted as saying, "irrationality is making a comeback." The article also mentions that many student rooms sport large pictures of the Gods posted comfortably next to their favorite movie star.




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Appeals For Calm After UK Riots
Posted on 2001/5/26 23:49:02 ( 649 reads )


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OLDHAM, U.K., May 26, 2001: Community leaders have appealed for calm after hundreds of Asian youths clashed with police during a night of rioting in Oldham. At least 20 officers were injured and 17 people arrested after weeks of racial tension between white and Asian youths erupted into violence. Greater Manchester Police described the running battles as "sheer carnage." The riots are understood to have begun after a gang of white youths attacked Asian homes in the Glodwick area of the town earlier on Saturday evening. Youth worker Ashid Ali, chairman of the Oldham Bangladeshi Youth Association, said far-right organizations had been trying to provoke violence for weeks. "Unfortunately the whole of the UK will look at this as being a riot between the police and Asian youths, when it was clearly sparked by white youths." Asian youths have blamed police for failing to react to attacks from white racists on their communities over recent weeks. Daoob Akram, who has lived in Glodwick for 35 years, said that "the police and the local authorities need to make sure they protect the Asian community." The report does not specify what is meant by "Asian," which in the UK lumps together both Hindus and Muslims from India. In this case, the only named "Asians" were Muslims. In an earlier racial incident in another city, Muslim and poor white youth were involved in altercations with better-off white and Hindu youth.




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Jain Prayer At U.S. House Of Representatives
Posted on 2001/5/26 23:48:02 ( 649 reads )


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Washington D.C., May 23, 2001: Nearly 200 Jains from across the United States were on hand to hear Gurudev Shree Chitrabhanuji, a Jain priest from New York, deliver the opening prayer to the US House of Representatives. Chitrabhanuji spent 28 years as a Jain monk. During his years in India, he founded the Divine Knowledge Society and other social welfare organizations. Dr. Mahendra Pandya, national president of the Jain Associations in North America said, "We should be proud about this event that the Jain religion, the Jain culture and the philosophy is also being recognized, not only in India, but now also throught out the world through this national prayer in the US Congress." The prayer was organized by Representative Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat.




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