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"Yob culture" Blamed For UK Riots
Posted on 2001/6/28 23:48:02 ( 764 reads )


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Burnley violence mirrored that in other northern towns By BBC News Online's community affairs reporter Cindi John. The involvement of Asian youths in civil disturbances and violence at the recent Pakistan/Australia cricket matches has painted a picture of a rebellious generation. But there are conflicting views among Asians themselves. One community leader said the recent disturbances involving Asian youths were the result of "yob culture" not race issues. "Yob" -- "boy" spelled backwards -- is, according to the Webster's, "A rowdy, destructive youth; a hooligan or ruffian." Manzoor Moghal, chairman of the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations, said many British-born Asians in the riot-hit towns had assimilated the worst of English culture. He said: "They have the yobbish culture, they are defiant, not so obedient to their parents any longer, they don't comply with the peace and quiet the family want, the way their parents lived here and they are rebellious. They are following the norms of the youth culture of this country. Then because they come from a different racial group things do tend to acquire a racial complexion." While the current disturbances have involved mostly Muslim youth, Hindu communities have been drawn in at times. Sociologist Dr Virinder Kalra of Manchester University says the recent troubles are not a new phenomenon. He said: "Twenty years ago twelve Asian and African-Caribbean young people were arrested for making petrol bombs in Bradford, the so-called Bradford 12 case. "Their argument in court was they were defending their communities against the National Front. And in 1976 in Southall the murder of a young Asian taxi driver sparked a riot," Dr Kalra said.




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Reform Jewish Issue Guidelines on Ethical Conversion
Posted on 2001/6/28 23:47:02 ( 601 reads )


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MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA, June 26, 2001: As people do some serious soul searching in life to discover a faith that fits how they really feel on the inside, the Reform rabbinate offered by the Jewish religion might fit the bill. According to Rabbi David Ellenson, president of Hebrew Union College, new guidelines issued by the Reform sect of Judaism are an effort by rabbis to offer a more traditional approach to people seeking spirituality so that a healthy sense of community can be experienced. Expectant candidates for conversion are fostered through a series of events such as learning in the classroom, exploring spirituality and counseling by a rabbi. After these expressions of sincerity have been met, the new guidelines propose that the potential convert meet before a panel of three dedicated Jews. The guidelines make it very clear that the movement is open to new converts but they do not have an interest in proselytizing. This system of conversion among the Reform Jews closely parallels that of Hindus.




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India Attempts to Discourage Abortion of Female Fetuses
Posted on 2001/6/25 23:49:02 ( 640 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 25, 2001: When a study published in January of 2001 revealed that around five million procedures a year take place in India to abort female fetuses, it confirmed the reason why the male population exceeds the female one in India. Appalled by the shocking data, three organizations, UNICEF, the Indian Medical Association, and the National Commission of Women, organized a meeting with religious leaders of major faiths to put their heads together to develop a solution. Calling the practice, "a crime against humanity," the Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Jayendra Saraswati, blamed the cultural practice of dowry and family pressure to have sons for the abortions. Experts in the medical field fault the misuse of the technology, ultrasound, that will detect a female fetus.




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Seniors Suffer in Old Age Homes
Posted on 2001/6/25 23:48:02 ( 670 reads )


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TORONTO, CANADA, June 20, 2001: When an elderly Indo-Canadian man of 74 years killed two fellow inmates and injured another in a nursing home, the shocking occurrence sparked an investigation of old age homes in the country. Results of the Ontario provincial government report indicate a series of problems for seniors in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Seniors may be restrained without their consent and not released for hours, they may be left in dirty and wet diapers for long periods of time, they often do not receive pain medication, many of them develop bed sores and receive no treatment and there was evidence of unexplained bruises and cuts on many residents. In such an environment, South Asian seniors fare even worse than other Canadians. They feel alienated because of religious, cultural and dietary preferences. The Chinese community in Markham has approached the problem by building facilities where a certain number of beds are allocated specifically for the South Asian elderly.




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Murthi Stolen From Temple in South Kerala
Posted on 2001/6/25 23:47:02 ( 725 reads )


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KERALA, INDIA, June 17, 2001: A murthi stolen from the Arampunna Ayyappa Temple at Punalur last Sunday was found in a nearby paddy field on Thursday. Weighing over 64 kg. and worth around US$6,500, the icon was discovered with one of the hands badly damaged. Fingerprint experts have examined the murthi to obtain evidence as to the identity of the culprits responsible for the theft.




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Study Focuses on Red Meat and Cancer
Posted on 2001/6/25 23:46:02 ( 677 reads )


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LYON, FRANCE, JUNE 23, 2001: New research indicates that eating lots of red meat may create as much of a certain cancer-promoting chemical in the colon as smoking does. The findings, presented in Lyon at the European Conference on Nutrition and Cancer, were part of a study that supports the theory that fiber wards off colon cancer, the second most deadly cancer worldwide. This latest research, linking eating habits and cancer, found that those who ate a high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains, had 40 percent less chance of developing colon cancer than those who ate the least roughage. The study involved 406,323 people from nine European countries. The findings redeem fiber as a potential anti-cancer agent. According to Dr. Sheila Bingham of Cambridge University, who led the study, lab tests have shown that the combination of red meat and colon bacteria produce chemicals called n-nitroso compounds, some of which are cancerous. One of them, known as NNK, is found in tobacco smoke.




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Forbes Magazine Focuses on India's Tiffinwallas
Posted on 2001/6/25 23:45:02 ( 684 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, August10, 1998: To appreciate Indian efficiency at its best, watch this city's tiffinwallahs at work, urges business magazine Forbes. In this old article, Forbes explains that these are the men who deliver 175,000 lunches (or "tiffin") each day to offices and schools throughout Mumbai, the business capital of India. Lunch is in a tin container consisting of a number of bowls held together in a frame. The meals are prepared in the homes of the people who commute into Mumbai each morning and delivered in their own tiffin carriers. After lunch, the process is reversed. Despite the complexity, the 5,000 tiffinwallahs make a mistake only about once every two months, according to Ragunath Medge, 42, president of the Mumbai Tiffinmen's Association. That's one error in every 8 million deliveries, or 16 million if you include the return trip. The charge for this extraordinary service is just 150 rupees ($3.33) per month. Forbes has done a more recent article (which we couldn't locate, but perhaps an HPI reader can) assigning the system a "Sigma 6" performance rating -- a score rarely received by any major company in the world.




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Leather Boycott Hits India
Posted on 2001/6/24 23:49:02 ( 929 reads )


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UNITED KINGDOM, June 21, 2001: While the plight of cattle at slaughter houses in North America is cruel beyond description, Indian cattle, in some cases fair no better. Cattle that provide leather for a growing industry, are forced to walk for days, often collapse and then are beaten cruelly until they die. When the People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals in the U.S. brought this to public attention, they persuaded Marks and Spencer of Britain to stop buying leather from India. This boycott of Indian leather by several retail chains has cost India's leather industry US$27million in the first six months of 2001, resulting in a crippling impact.




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Pilgrims Rue Poor Facilities at Katra
Posted on 2001/6/24 23:48:02 ( 627 reads )


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KATRA, INDIA, June 19, 2001: An unprecedented rush of pilgrims to Vaishno Devi has created chaos and confusion right from Katra, base camp, to the bhavan where thousands of yatris are awaiting their turn for "darshan" in the open. Against the room capacity of 10,000 to 12,000 in hotels and private guest houses between 40,000 and 50,000 pilgrims land in this small town daily. Between 10,000 and 15,000 pilgrims reach Jammu by trains everyday and two holiday specials have been pressed into service to cope with the rush of the pilgrims. The chaos at the bhavan, too, is a matter of worry for the pilgrims as the maximum capacity for pilgrims at the bhavan is 18,000, but at present there are between 22,000 and 25,000 yatris waiting for their turn to enter into the cave.




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Hundreds of Thousands Witness Puri Car festival
Posted on 2001/6/24 23:47:02 ( 667 reads )


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PURI, INDIA, June 23, 2001: Over 800,000 devotees witnessed the famous car festival of Lord Jagannath, His elder brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Goddess Subhadra in the pilgrim town of Puri on Saturday. The downpour and power failure on Friday night didn't deter devotees who thronged to celebrate the annual sojourn of the Lord. The "Mangala Arati" of the deities started at about 5:00 am and was followed by other rituals. The festival then witnessed one of its finest moments when the three deities were brought out of the temple to their respective chariots in a spectacular procession called "Pahandi." The Shankaracharya of Gobardhan Peetha, Puri, Swami Neeschalananda Saraswati, was the first to have a "darshan," or sight, of the three deities on their chariots. There was a mad scramble to hold the ropes of the chariots, a lifetime wish of the devotees who had come from all corners of the country and abroad to witness the famous festival.




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Child Marriages In Andhra Pradesh
Posted on 2001/6/24 23:46:02 ( 726 reads )


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HYDERABAD, INDIA, JUNE 23, 2001: Child marriages are banned under Indian laws, but a nongovernmental organization (NGO) working in Mahabubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh publicly organized 11 such weddings in one day. Uchita Viaha Vedika, a voluntary NGO which arranges free mass weddings of poor couples, organized those of 11 couples aged between 12 and 16 years old on May 20, in the presence of a local legislator and other eminent people. Child marriages are common in some back regions but this is perhaps the first time that a voluntary organization publicly arranged such weddings. In India, the legal age for marriage of boys is 21 and of girls 18.




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Going Vegetarian Pays Off
Posted on 2001/6/23 23:49:02 ( 643 reads )


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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, June 24, 2001: Vegetarians in Britain are being offered cheaper life insurance because, it is claimed, they are healthier and less likely to die earlier. They are being given a 25 percent reduction in their monthly premiums. The Animal Friends Insurance (AFI) society is the first to offer the cheaper rates to vegetarians and other companies are expected to follow. In the past, the only significant lifestyle factor that British insurers had taken into account for life policies was smoking. According to Ms. Elaine Fairfax, head of AFI, a succession of studies gives strong indications that vegetarians live longer and are less likely to suffer from serious or chronic illnesses that shorten lives. The company therefore wants to reward vegetarians by giving them cheaper life insurance policies. According to the Vegetarian Society, an exclusively vegetarian diet reduces the risk of some cancers by up to 40 per cent and of heart disease by 30 per cent. The chance of developing kidney and gallstones is also lower and the threat of diet-related diabetes and high blood pressure is minimized.




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The Plight of the Girl Child
Posted on 2001/6/23 23:48:02 ( 688 reads )


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NEW DELHI & TAMIL NADU, INDIA, June 23, 2001: They are calling it "the cause of the girl child." Organizations such as the National Commission for Women, UNICEF and the Indian Medical Association, collaborating in their campaign against the gender bias, have invited religious leaders to participate in a national convention on Sunday, June 24th. Alarmingly, the latest census figures have shown a steady decrease in the female population in all the states of India. Averaging 927 female children per thousand male children in the zero- to six-year-old age group, some states fair even worse. Quoting the article, "Chandigarh has 773 females to 1000 males, Haryana 861, Punjab 874 and Uttar Pradesh 898." Sanjiv Malik, secretary general of the IMA points out that the statistics clearly indicate that the girl child is being eliminated either before or after birth.




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Tracing the Synapses of Spirituality
Posted on 2001/6/23 23:47:02 ( 610 reads )


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PHILADELPHIA, USA, June 17, 2001: What creates that transcendental feeling of being one with the universe? Scientists are asking whether spirituality can be explained in terms of neural networks, neurotransmitters and brain chemistry. Using powerful brain imaging technology, researchers are exploring what mystics call nirvana, and what Christians describe as a state of grace. In an experiment to recreate a spiritual experience in the brain, a volunteer wears headgear that produces an electromagnetic pattern on a computer program. "The brain is set up in such a way as to have spiritual and religious experiences," said Andrew Newberg, a Philadelphia scientist who authored the book "Why God Won't Go Away." "Unless there is a fundamental change in the brain, religion and spirituality will be here for a very long time. The brain is predisposed to having those experiences and that is why so many people believe in God."




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Unauthorized Pavement Shrines Abound
Posted on 2001/6/23 23:46:02 ( 690 reads )


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BANGALORE, INDIA, June 18, 2001: Victoria Layout in the heart of the city seems to be a haven for unauthorized shrines, in this case Christian altars -- mostly dedicated to St Mary. Many are small, but on Richmond Road Circle one is a full-fledged altar with its walls laced in marble, and a mini garden around it -- all crammed in the little space on the pavement. There are few answers for questions like when and by whom this unauthorized altar was constructed. Be it large or small, any shrine or altar without the proper authorization runs the risk of eventual demolition by the Bangalore Development Authority Task Force.




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