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Nepal's New Living Goddess
Posted on 2001/7/15 23:48:02 ( 596 reads )


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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, July 15, 2001: Four-year-old Preeti Shakya has been chosen as the new living goddess of Nepal, to spend her childhood revered as the source of prosperity for the mountain kingdom -- a status she will hold until she reaches puberty. This BBC report is more detailed than earlier reports. The Kumari is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists who believe that she has blessed the king and the 22 million people of Nepal with peace and prosperity. Shortlisted candidates must pass tough tests, including spending a night among the heads of ritually slaughtered goats and buffaloes. Past Kumaris have complained of being returned unprepared into the harsh realities of life when they reach puberty. In December, the government announced a monthly pension of $40 for serving and retired Kumaris.




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Dance Conference Announced
Posted on 2001/7/15 23:47:02 ( 680 reads )


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HOUSTON, TEXAS, July 16, 2001: The Samskriti organization announced today the "First North American International Conference on Indian Dance in the Diaspora -- Traditions & Innovations" featuring scholars, critics, performers, and dignitaries from around the world will be held in Houston, Texas from September 1 to 3, 2001. Performers include Mallika Sarabhai and Darpana Dance Company, Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, Anita Ratnam and the Arangham Dancers, The Anjali Dance Company of Houston, and the Academy of Fine Arts of Boston. For details email "source" above.




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Hindu Sues After Cow Parts Used in Operation
Posted on 2001/7/14 23:49:02 ( 606 reads )


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SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND, July 13, 2001: A 34-year-old Hindu woman has won $US$5,640 in damages after surgeons used cow cartilage in her operation. The educational administrator said she would have never consented to the operation if she had known doctors were going to use parts of the cow, which is sacred to her religion. The woman, who has not been named, has fought a six-year battle to get the out-of-court settlement. The surgery was performed by Dr. Leo Strassen at Sunderland General Hospital to correct a lump on the woman's nose. Following the operation she was in severe pain and had trouble breathing. When she sought legal advice, she got access to her records and discovered the use of cow cartilage. She now plans to have the cartilage removed and faces an $15,510 bill. The City Hospitals Sunderland said that the payment had been made with no admission of liability, but it expressed sympathy for any discomfort faced by the woman, who now lives in London.




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Ayurveda Helps Pakistan/India Summit
Posted on 2001/7/14 23:48:02 ( 672 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 15, 2001: To help the leaders of India and Pakistan ease five decades of animosity, chefs dropped crushed pearl, coral and mica into a mood-elevating meal laced with the elixir of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine. The chefs said the menu was designed so that Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, "are at peace with themselves and with each other" during their formal talks. The menu for Sunday's summit lunch included soups, kebabs, chicken, lamb and freshwater prawns, said chef Narendra Singh of Jaypee Palace hotel in Agra, where the talks are being held. The grilled prawns were laced with a pinch of fired coral and the lamb and rice dish with powdered pearls, both believed to have therapeutic value, the chef told Indian media. Other ingredients used in the menu were "zarraqoosh," a cooling agent, "shilajit," liquefied iron extracted from Himalayan rocks, powdered mica and an extract derived from lichens, which according to Ayurveda has great revitalizing power.




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Wounded BBC Reporter Tells of Food Shortages in Tamil Areas of Sri Lanka
Posted on 2001/7/14 23:47:02 ( 589 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, July 15, 2001: BBC reporter Marie Colvi, lost an eye to Singhalese army gun fire while crossing the from Tamil Tiger held areas of Sri Lanka to those under government control. She was attempting to get an authentic picture of conditions in the war-torn region. Reporters are barred by the Sri Lankan government from entering. Much of this article has to do with the treatment of her eye, but includes reports on the situation in Sri Lanka, including this: "On a smaller scale, however, the trip did seem to me worthwhile. I may be exhausted and haunted, but not all the images that flash back to me evoke dread. I remember a government agent in a town in the Vanni -- the region controlled by the LTTE -- who put his neck on the line just to give me information. He received me late at night in his office, very formal but resolute. He put a suit on and asked me not to reveal his name for fear of retaliation from the very government that paid his salary. He had facts and figures of the type that make on-the-ground reporting worthwhile. I wanted to resolve two contradictory stories: the government in Colombo claimed to be distributing food to Tamil civilians on the same monthly basis as the rest of the country, yet in village after village people told me they received little. Many were painfully thin. This government agent explained. He said he notified Colombo monthly that 36,400 families in his district (about 140,000 people) qualified for food aid. They sent him food for 8,900 families (about 35,000 people), claiming he had inflated his figures. 'So I hold the first shipment, and divide up what I have to distribute every two months,' he said. 'There is no basis for this misery.' "




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Growing Vegetables Helps Rebuild Buddhist Temples
Posted on 2001/7/14 23:46:02 ( 639 reads )


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AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS, July 11, 2001: The Khmer Growers of Western Massachusetts -- four Cambodian sisters and their friends -- are raising money to rebuild the Buddhist temples in their homeland by growing the vegetables they know best. They began selling to Massachusetts' ethnic farm markets seven years ago and are adding some chic restaurants in Manhattan and Washington, D.C, to their growing customer list. Prak Ky's return to farming after escaping the killing fields of the Pol Pot regime started when her doctor gave her a stern warning. "He said I must exercise or I would die," she said. He told her sister Prak Kom the same thing. Instead of that uniquely unproductive form of exercise -- jogging -- they began a small garden at the apartment complex where they live. They now have more than four acres planted in more than 30 different kinds of Asian vegetables. The farm is set up as a nonprofit to finance reconstruction of the temples. There could be a similar market for uniquely Indian vegetables.




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Indian Dances Are Popular Among Americans
Posted on 2001/7/14 23:45:02 ( 601 reads )


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NEW YORK, New York, July 15, 2001: Americans are not only learning the classical dances of India but also getting to know more about culture and traditions. According to this report, Kathak Guru Charka, who has students from different ethnic backgrounds ranging from Indians to American and white to Blacks, says, "Americans show more interest in our dances." His Kathak Dance Company has given many successful presentations at national and international festivals, conferences, cultural events and other educational institutions.




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India and Global Warming
Posted on 2001/7/14 23:44:02 ( 640 reads )


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AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND, July 12, 2001: Global warming and the impact it will have on our planet Earth is a major concern for environmental scientists. The first extensive global report on the subject was released at the Open Science Conference held in Amsterdam from July 10 to July 13. Ironically even though developing countries have contributed very little to global warming, they are the ones that will be affected the most by the changing temperature and precipitation. Countries such as India, Bangladesh, Brazil and those in sub-Saharan Africa will be hit the hardest. The report indicates that by 2080, India could lose 125 million tons of cereal production annually and the result could be devastating for a country where a significant portion of the population is already undernourished.




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Nepal Kumari Selected
Posted on 2001/7/11 23:49:02 ( 639 reads )


Source: Religion News Service





KATMANDU, NEPAL, JULY 11, 2001: Officials in Nepal have identified a 4-year-old girl from Katmandu as the new incarnation of a Goddess revered by both Hindus and Buddhists. Preeti Shakya was installed as the new Kumari (virgin goddess) on Tuesday, July 10. Preeti replaces the reigning Goddess who has reached puberty. Goddesses traditionally retire when they reach puberty. The installation of the new Goddess ends a search that began in February. Authorities in the predominantly Hindu kingdom sought girls as young as three from the Buddhist Shakya family -- the same family as Buddhism's founder -- to replace the reigning Kumari. The new Goddess will greet the public in October during the country's biggest festival and will move into an ancient temple in Katmandu. The Kumari is revered as a source of peace and prosperity for Nepal's 22 million people by both Hindus, and Buddhists. Nepals' new king, Gyanendra, will seek the Goddess's blessings as well.




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"Hit List" of Christian Evangelists on Hindu Extremist Web Site
Posted on 2001/7/11 23:48:02 ( 740 reads )


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FORTWORTH, TEXAS, July 11, 2001: The Christian news service "Crosswalk" published today the following report: "A militant Hindu hate web site displaying the names of international evangelists, secular and Christian scholars from India, and other 'enemies of Hinduism' on its 'hit-list' was back online after it was salvaged by a radical Jewish organization in Brooklyn, New York. The Web site calls on militant Hindus to commit violence against the men and women listed. Earlier in June, its service provider, Addr.com of Greenwood Village, Colorado, had pulled the plug on 'hinduunity.org' after receiving complaints that it instigated violence and hatred toward Muslims and Christians. The Hatikva Jewish Identity Center intervened because of their common hatred of Muslims and helped put the Web site back on the Internet. The Hindu Web site is advertised as the official site of the Bajrang Dal, the militant wing of the Sangh Parivar (Pro-Hindu Family). It lists well-known evangelists like Benny Hinn, who is described as 'a Baptist evangelist who goes to countries around the world, especially those with large Hindu populations and preaches about "the evil of Hindus and Hinduism." ' It goes on to exhort all self-respecting Hindu soldiers 'to stop his gathering by all means possible.' Pat Robertson 'cannot be forgiven nor can his speeches be forgotten. He is truly a devil out to destroy something as pure as Hinduism,' the site says."




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Golden Jubilee Year of the Chinmaya Movement
Posted on 2001/7/11 23:47:02 ( 697 reads )


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CALIFORNIA, July 10, 2001: The year 2001 is the Golden Jubilee year of the Chinmaya Movement. Founded 50 years ago by Swami Chinmayananda, the Chinmaya Mission now has centers in Miami, Washington, Los Angeles, Bangalore and Mumbai. A detailed list of the year's programs to be held at each center can be found on their website at "source." Special pujas, book distributions and the dedication of a new youth center will take place during the year. The year's celebrations will conclude with a Grand Finale Program in Mumbai from December 24 - 31, 2001.




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New Technology Allows Egg to be Fertilized Without Sperm
Posted on 2001/7/11 23:46:02 ( 621 reads )


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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, July 10, 2001: A new revolutionary technique developed by scientists in Australia has opened the doors for men who are unable to produce children because they have no sperm or germ cells. Using other body cells called somatic cells, the procedure eliminates one set of chromosomes that somatic cells usually contain. After this separation, the remaining set of chromosomes can combine with one set in a female egg cell. Presently the technology has successfully been put to the test in lab cultures where mice eggs have been fertilized. It remains to be seen if the resultant embryos will be viable. As with cloning, such developments are causing forcing religions to explore new ethical issues.




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40 Die in Rebel Attacks on Police in Nepal
Posted on 2001/7/10 23:49:02 ( 724 reads )


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KATMANDU, NEPAL, July 7, 2001: A string of attacks overnight killed 39 police officers and a civilian at security posts across Nepal on the eve of the King Gyanendra's 55th birthday. It is the worst violence in the troubled Himalayan kingdom since last month's massacre of virtually the entire royal family by the crown prince, who then shot himself. Maoist rebels took responsibility for the attacks. It was also the highest number of police officers killed in one day since the Maoists began their rebellion over five years ago to try to topple the constitutional monarchy. The rebels have stepped up their violent campaign in the wake of the killings of the royal family. Officials say plans to to crush the rebellion have been hampered by a lack of political consensus.




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Hindu Minority Seeking Own Homeland
Posted on 2001/7/10 23:48:02 ( 618 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 10, 2001: It was a time of terrible fear among the Kashmiri Pandits, Hindus indigenous to the beautiful Himalayan valley. They and Hindu settlers were being killed, kidnapped and robbed by Islamic militant groups demanding independence from India or to unite with Muslim-majority Pakistan. Between October 1989 and August 1990, some 350,000 Kashmiri Pandits fled and live mostly in squalid camps in Jammu, Kashmir's winter capital. Now the Pandits are raising anew their demand for a homeland, which they say must be separate because of fears they will be targeted again. "They wanted to Islamize Kashmir and they wanted us out. It was ethnic cleansing, said Ramesh Manavati, spokesman for Our Own Kashmir, an organization that says it represents more than 700,000 Kashmiri Pandits and demands an enclave in the Kashmir Valley. The All-Party Hurriyat Conference, an umbrella group that claims to speak for Kashmir, says the Pandits are welcome back, but a separate Pandit homeland is unacceptable.




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Kashmiri Pandits Long to Pilgrimage to Sharda Temple
Posted on 2001/7/10 23:47:02 ( 596 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 8, 2001: Longing to pilgrimage to the Sharda Temple in Kishanganga Valley in an area of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan, Kashmiri Pandits have appealed to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to openly discuss the issue in summit talks with Pakistan President Pervez Musharrat. Since 1990 when Pakistan took over the valley, the 350,000 Pandits who migrated to avoid the militancy have since been denied the privilege of visiting their ancestral temple. Also known as a famous learning centre among Kashmiris, historians have found chronicles highlighting the temple as far back as 1130 ce. For many centuries the Sharda Temple has been the focal point in many pilgrims' lives. Even though the site is now in ruins, it exudes an awe inspiring glory and Kashmiri Pandits want to worship and express their devotion at the renowned temple complex.




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