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No Danger of Cancer From Joss Sticks in Singapore
Posted on 2001/8/5 23:49:02 ( 806 reads )


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SINGAPORE, August 4, 2001: In response to the Taiwanese study which found levels of cancer-causing chemicals in temple smoke that were 19 times higher than in normal outdoor air, the Environment Ministry (ENV) has said that Singaporeans can carry on burning incense as it will not harm their health. ENV's spokesman said the ministry has monitored the levels of PAHs in air since 1996 and they were lower than in cities in the United States and Europe. PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are chemicals that are given off when certain substances, including tobacco, are burned. ENV also said that if enclosed areas are ventilated sufficiently the smoke would be dispersed and the carcinogens would not build up to harmful levels. The ministry has previously carried out tests on the burning of joss sticks and in some instances, minute traces of some heavy metals were detected. However, the ENV spokesman said that levels emitted do not constitute a health risk. Three years ago, ENV also set stricter rules on burning incense, limiting the length and width of large joss sticks, including barring the burning of large joss sticks and candles within 30 meters of any building.




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Korean Women Pray for Their Aborted Foetuses
Posted on 2001/8/5 23:48:02 ( 663 reads )


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SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, August 5, 2001: Temples in South Korea have begun offering special ceremonies for women to pray for the foetuses they have aborted. The ritual, called naktae chondoje or offering ceremony for aborted foetuses, lasts for 49 days, the usual duration of a Buddhist funeral ceremony. Besides fruit and sweets, the women also make offerings of milk, instead of the traditional wine, to appease the restless spirits during the ceremony. Koodamsa, a Buddhist temple run by women, is one of several such temples in South Korea now offering these special ceremonies. The Venerable Ji Yul explained that by providing this service, she hopes to help women cleanse themselves of the guilt they feel at taking a life and eventually reduce the number of abortions. Nearly 40 per cent of married women have had at least one abortion, a recent survey showed. But of more concern to the authorities is the fact that the abortion rate for young, single women appears to be on the rise. According to estimates, more than one million abortions take place in South Korea every year, which is roughly twice the number of babies born. Forty-nine percent of South Koreans are Christian, 47% are Buddhists.




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Sri Lanka's Buddhist Clergy Want to Ban Conversion to Christianity
Posted on 2001/8/5 23:47:02 ( 688 reads )


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COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, August 5, 2001: Sri Lanka's influential Buddhist clergy have called for laws to ban Christian conversions, which are spreading in poverty-stricken rural villages, and vowed collective action against the practice. They have adopted an 11-point plan to fight proselytizers, active in several districts of the island, and called on the authorities to immediately pass laws to prevent conversions taking place under the cover of helping rural communities to improve their economic standards. They say a shortage of Buddhist monks in several temples is also allowing Christian priests to make inroads into the Buddhist heartland by converting farming communities. The monks say about 23,000 Buddhists are being converted to Christianity each year and proselytizers have targeted 5,000 out of the 25,400 villages in the country for their activities.




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Brits Fear Evangelical Crusades on Religious TV
Posted on 2001/8/5 23:46:02 ( 659 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, August 5, 2001: Broadcasters in the United Kingdom want to a fight digital license ban, despite fears that opening the gates to U.S.-style evangelism will hit the weak and vulnerable. The BBC might just have appointed its first agnostic head of religion and ethics, and ITV may have already attracted doubts over whether it will breach the code of conduct for balance with its series on the evangelical Anglican Alpha course. But the battle for religious broadcasting is only just heating up. Broadcasters, particularly from the evangelical Christian community, are lobbying the government to relax regulations preventing them from applying for digital licenses to broadcast across Britain. They claim that the ban is discriminatory and especially unfair from a government headed by an avowed Christian. Any relaxation is being resisted by the National Secular Society, which argues that allowing religious broadcasters more access to the airwaves would open the way to manipulative U.S.-style evangelizing. The society says religious broadcasting is dangerous and does not deserve to be allowed to bid for licenses.




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Polyethylene Bags Banned in the Holy City of Rishikesh
Posted on 2001/8/5 23:45:02 ( 681 reads )


Source: Sandhya Times (Hindi)





RISHIKESH, INDIA, August 2, 2001: In the pilgrimage city of Rishikesh, use of polyethylene bags have been banned from August 1, 2001. According to the chief of the Nagar Palika Parishad Srimati Snehlata Sharma, a committee of citizens will keep an eye on the use of polyethylene bags, and five officials will be looking after the implementation. It has been informed that the users of polyethylene bags, whether they are buyers or sellers will be warned for the first time. There after, a heavy economic penalty has been proposed. If the polyethylene bags are found in front of any house, legal action can be taken against the neighboring residents as well. People are encouraged to bring their own cloth bag when shopping. The bags are a great hazard to the cows which roam freely as the plastic accumulates in their stomachs.




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Indian Cosmetics a Big Hit in Britain
Posted on 2001/8/5 23:44:02 ( 826 reads )


Source: Sandhya Times (Hindi)





JAIPUR, INDIA, August 2, 2001: In England's 2,500 beauty parlors, Indian traditional cosmetics are frequently used. According to information received from World Communication Centre in Jaipur, in these beauty parlors cream, shampoos and other synthetic materials are out of favor. In the place of these, turmeric, honey, lemon, etc. are being used. India shampoos such as amvla, reetha and shikakai are favored. Similarly, for head and body massage, traditional Indian pastes are employed. Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife, Cherry, has visited the beauty parlor of Bharti Vyas. Other traditional Indian beauty parlors have a booking schedule of two and a half months.




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Lord Hanuman Removed From Demolished Mosque
Posted on 2001/8/1 23:49:02 ( 749 reads )


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BHILWARA, INDIA, August,1, 2001: The tension that was brewing in the Rajasthan town of Asind after a group of Gujjars allegedly razed an ancient mosque and installed a Hindu icon at the site, was defused after a marathon five-hour discussion between leaders of the Hindu and Muslim communities, where authorities managed to persuade the former to remove an icon of Lord Hanuman which the Muslims said was installed at the site of a 16th century mosque which stood in the precinct of a temple. The government has described the situation in Asind, 200 km from Jaipur, as being "under control" and said that a large police force has been deployed as a precautionary measure. Trouble had erupted on Friday when a 300-strong mob demolished the mosque built by Akbar.




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Tribals Unite Against Conversions in Tripura
Posted on 2001/8/1 23:48:02 ( 765 reads )


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TRIPURA, INDIA, August 2, 2001: Tribal Hindus in Tripura have formed vigilante groups to thwart attempts by separatist militants to convert people to Christianity at gunpoint, community leaders said on Thursday. "It is a very serious threat to Hinduism with armed militants of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura forcibly converting tribal villagers to Christianity," said Rampada Jamatia, a leader of the Jamatia tribe. "We believe up to 5,000 tribal villagers were converted to Christianity by the NLFT in the past two years," Jamatia told IANS in Jirania, 25 km east of Agartala. At least 20 Hindu tribals, including a senior priest of the Jirania Ashram, Santi Kali Maharaj, have been killed by NLFT rebels in the past two years for disobeying orders. The NLFT, fighting for an independent tribal homeland since 1989, has issued orders demanding villagers not celebrate Hindu religious festivals.




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Incense in Unventilated Temple Linked To Cancer
Posted on 2001/8/1 23:47:02 ( 798 reads )


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TAIWAN, August 2, 2001: Researchers in Taiwan found that the smoke produced by burning incense is laden with cancer-causing chemicals. Levels of one chemical believed to cause lung cancer were 40 times higher in a badly ventilated temple in Taiwan than in houses where people smoke tobacco. Incense burning also creates more pollution than road traffic at a local intersection. Ta Chang Lin, of the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan told New Scientist magazine: "We truly hope that incense burning brings only spiritual comfort, without any physical discomfort. But there is a potential cancer risk. We just cannot say how serious it is." Inside the temple, they found very high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a large group of highly carcinogenic chemicals that are released when certain substances are burnt.




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Jeeyar Swami Doubts Aryan Invasion
Posted on 2001/7/31 23:49:02 ( 793 reads )


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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, August 1, 2001: In an interview with J.V. Lakshmana Rao of the India Tribune, Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami, an eminent Sanskrit scholar, of Jeeyar Educational Trust and Vedic University, located in Sitanagaram in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, said the "Aryan invasion is a cock and bull story. It is the creation of Western invaders. The Westerners, who doubted the intelligence, culture and heritage of Indians, created the Aryan invasion theory .... The Westerners have no business to evolve a theory which is baseless and irrelevant." The Swami maintains the Hindu civilization is older than the Greek, Roman and Egyptian civilizations. "There is no history to prove that Hinduism had ever fought with anybody for its survival." the scholarly Swami said. The Swamiji was in Chicago as part of his world tour raising funds to create a colony of houses for the victims of the earthquake in Gujarat. The three-month tour, which began towards the end of June, took him to Switzerland, Rome, Paris, San Francisco, and Chicago. He will be visiting Boston and New Jersey, before he leaves the US for India on August 13.




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Swami Agnivesh on ETC TV
Posted on 2001/7/31 23:48:02 ( 712 reads )


Source: Punjab Kesari (Hindi)





NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 1, 2001: The discourses of Swami Agnivesh, organizer of the World Arya Mahasammelan, will be telecast on ETC channel everyday morning between 7:00 and 7:30. Influenced by the revolutionary thought process of Swami Dayananda, for the last 35 years Swami Agnivesh has struggled for the emancipation of bonded laborers. He has addressed the United Nation's Human Rights Commission on the subject and attended the 2000 UN meeting of world religious leaders. This program of half-an-hour duration can be watched from the various districts of India and people of 120 nations of the world.




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World Population Explosion All Over Before 2100
Posted on 2001/7/31 23:47:02 ( 829 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, August 2, 2001: Researchers say the world's population could stop growing sooner than expected. They suggest it could peak within the next 70 years, and then decline. By the end of the century, they believe, the number of people alive could be 8.4 billion -- about one billion fewer than the United Nations has predicted. But there will be wide regional variations, and far more elderly people than there are today. The report appears in the magazine Nature. Their best estimate predicts the world population will peak at nine billion in 2070 and drop to 8.4 billion by 2100. Populations are already declining in Europe. But, "the populations of north Africa and sub-Saharan Africa are likely to double" over the same period, the authors say, "even when we take into account the uncertainty about future HIV trends. "Owing to an earlier fertility decline, the China region is likely to have around 700 million fewer people than the south Asia region by the middle of the century. They also stated, "At the global level the proportion above age 60 is likely to increase from its current level of 10% to around 22% in 2050. "By the end of the century it will increase to around 34%, and extensive population ageing will occur in all world regions."




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Abandoned Mosque Demolished
Posted on 2001/7/30 23:49:02 ( 826 reads )


Source: The Hindu





JAIPUR, INDIA, July 30, 2001: A decrepit mosque built by a battalion of the Moghul army in the 16th century near Asind town in Bhilwara district of south Rajasthan was demolished by a mob and a temple built in its place on July 27, sending shock waves across the state and leading to tension between Hindus and Muslims. The incident, concealed for fear of a communal backlash, came to light with the local residents approaching the Rajasthan Waqf Board here. The Waqf Board records the mosque as "Masjid Sawai Bhoj"' which was in use till 1956 and abandoned thereafter apparently because of thin population of Muslims in the vicinity. The trouble began during the three-day "urs" celebrations and took a violent turn when a mob objected to the raising of tents near the dargah for organizing qawwalis (devotional songs). The mob later razed the mosque. A marble platform was hurriedly built at the site and an idol installed with the temple named "Mandir Peer Pachhar Hanuman Ji" ("Temple of Lord Hanuman Who Defeated Peer -- the Muslim saint buried in the dargah).




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Symposium on Saving Hindu Faith and Culture
Posted on 2001/7/30 23:48:02 ( 690 reads )


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, July 29, 2001: The Malaysia Hindu Sangam will organize The Millennium Symposium on the Future of Hinduism on Aug 12 in what the organizers describe as "a clarion call to take action to save our culture and religious heritage." "From the sociological point of view, we are losing our culture and religious heritage at an incredible rate," said Malaysia Hindu Sangam president A. Vaithilingam. He said children of the Hindu faith were growing up mindlessly imbibing only "television values," which were devoid of depth, morality or spirituality. The symposium, Vaithilingam said, while imparting knowledge of practical use to Hindus, would also outline an action program called ATMAH, or Action To Mobilize All Hindus. It will be held at the Kalamandapam auditorium of Sri Karthaswami Temple at Lorong Scott in Brickfields here. Vaithilingam said participants would comprise mainly business executives and professionals. For more information, email mhs_atmah@yahoo.com.




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Trinidad Hindus Call to Address School Imbalance
Posted on 2001/7/30 23:47:02 ( 678 reads )


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TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, July 21, 2001: Archbishop Edward Gilbert, head of the Catholic Church in Trinidad and Tobago, recently observed that only 30 per cent of the students at Presentation College, Chaguanas are Roman Catholics. He also expressed his intention to give special attention to Roman Catholic education in Catholic schools. Although Presentation College, Chaguanas, is a Catholic College, by the Concordat signed between the Catholic Church and the Eric Williams administration, they sold the majority of enrollment places to the state in exchange for certain financial support. The Concordat also effectively prevented Hindus, who make up the second largest proportion of the population after the Roman Catholics, and other religious groups from building and operating new colleges with state assistance. The implications of this is that Hindus were never permitted to build schools to accommodate the aspirations and expectations of its Hindu community. The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha endorses the Archbishop's concern about Catholic education in its schools, but more urgently Hindus are concerned about the reality that the majority of children in some Catholics schools are Hindu children. The issue is being faced by the Catholics worldwide as in many countries, the majority of the students in their schools are not Catholics.




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