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Hindu Press International
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Amarnath Pilgrimage Resumes, Central Government Team Visits Sheshnag
Posted on 2001/7/22 23:48:02 ( 788 reads )


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SRINAGAR, INDIA, July 22, 2001: The Amarnath pilgrimage, suspended for a day after 13 persons were killed near Sheshnag on Saturday, resumed today both from Jammu and Srinagar, according to an official spokesman. Over one thousand devotees worshipped at the shrine today. A central government team, led by the Union Minister of State for Home, Mr. I.D. Swami, visited Sheshnag and reviewed the situation with the Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Mr. G.C. Saxena, and other senior officials. Expressing shock over the incident, Mr. Swami assured the pilgrims that every step would be taken to ensure their safety. Mr. Saxena, who visited Sheshnag on Saturday gave a detailed account of the incident as also the measures taken to curb the militants.




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Cryer Defends "Learn English" Call
Posted on 2001/7/22 23:47:02 ( 772 reads )


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KEIGHLEY, ENGLAND, JULY 13, 2001: Ann Cryer, the Labour MP for Keighley, near Bradford, has defended her controversial call for immigrants to be compelled to learn English before they are allowed into the UK. Cryer has said inter-continental marriages in the Asian community were resulting in immigrants who could not speak English. "This limits participation in mainstream social and educational activities. I'm looking to get the support from the Asian community, more specifically from Asian parents, to consider when arranging the marriage of their child, thinking a little more about arranging a marriage with a young Muslim of UK origin," she said. After receiving criticism from religious leaders and politicians from the Muslim community, Cryer defended her views stating, "A great deal of poverty in the Asian communities in Bradford and Keighley is down to the fact that many of our Asian communities do not speak English or very little." Cryer added, "Sikhs and Hindus are doing extremely well both academically and economically and I think this is due to the fact that they don't pursue this practice." The government backed away from the controversy, with the prime minister's official spokesman welcoming the contribution that immigrants make to national life.




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Pakistan Migrants Hopeful of Summit Outcome
Posted on 2001/7/21 23:49:02 ( 731 reads )


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AGRA, INDIA, July 21, 2001: The India-Pakistan summit in Agra has raised new hopes among the Pakistani Sindhi Hindu migrants living in that city that the event may enable them to carry out trade with and travel to their former homeland. The city of Agra has nearly 60,000 Sindhi Hindus who fled to India from Pakistan after the violent partition of 1947. A community leader, Lal Chand Soni, says most Sindhis now have a comfortable home and profitable business -- trading in cloth, owning grocery stores and engaged in the shoe trade. Pakistan's Sindh province of Pakistan is the cradle of the Indus valley civilization and the Sindhi migrants have preserved their distinct cultural heritage. They have built their own temples and celebrate their own festivals. The older generation still uses the Arabic script and are more fluent in Urdu and Persian than Hindi, which is the local language.




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Bradford Racial Tensions Addressed in Lord Ouseley's Report
Posted on 2001/7/21 23:48:02 ( 772 reads )


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BRADFORD, UNITED KINGDOM, July 13, 2001: A report issued by Lord Ouseley and eleven other panelists reflects the stark reality of the Bradford community in the U.K. In a community where multicultural diversity should be creating a sense of mutual respect and tolerance, exactly the opposite is happening. Differences have resulted in intolerance, fear of gang culture and the drug trade, and harassment. Middle class white, Sikh, and Hindu citizens are moving out of the city leaving behind the poor white and Muslim minorities. Community and political leaders simply do not know how to rectify the problem. Lord Ouseley's report recommends, "that children and young people be prioritized as future leaders to spearhead improved communications with different ethnic and religious groups." In a proposal called the "people program" education will build trust and respect between all the communities involved and grants will be equally divided among all the communities to promote good race relations and improve unemployment.




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School in Bradford Teaches Tolerance
Posted on 2001/7/21 23:47:02 ( 814 reads )


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BRADFORD, UK, July 21, 2001: Following criticism of Bradford's "ethnically segregated" schools in the city's race review, Rhodesway school in Bradford could be a prototype for the sort of multiculturally tolerant school Herman Ouseley wants to see more of in the city. Ouseley's report said the fact that so many Bradford schools were overwhelming white or Asian was adding to racial tensions in the city. But Rhodesway School, in the Allerton district of west Bradford, draws its 1,900 pupils almost equally from the white and Asian communities, with some African Caribbean pupils too. Its head teacher, John Fowler, agreed with the race report's finding that many schools were in effect segregated, but said that was often more to do with the fact that so many were neighbourhood schools. "What we've got to do is to make a much higher profile for understanding other cultures, and if that starts in the junior schools then we can build in the secondary schools and try to gradually change the perceptions that people have."




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Ayodhya Exhibition Now Open in Delhi
Posted on 2001/7/21 23:46:02 ( 812 reads )


Source: Asian Age





NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 20, 2001: After eight long years, the Sahmat exhibition Hum Sab Ayodhya can now be displayed to the public. Extolling the evolution of Ayodhya, the public showing was originally put together by distinguished historians Mr. K.N. Panikkar, Irfan Habib, and Ravinder Kumar. Shortly after launching in 1993, the exhibition was banned by the state government who thought the content mocked the emotional idealism of the nation. A three-judge bench recently ordered the lifting of the ban on the exhibition. The public showing was commenced at the Constitution Club once again, amidst the playing of Sufi bhakti songs.




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Five Hindu Pilgrims Among Twelve Killed in Amarnath Blast
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:49:02 ( 774 reads )


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SRINAGAR, INDIA, July 21, 2001: Twelve people were killed in a big explosion near Sheshnag, 28 kilometers from southern Kashmir, on the heavily guarded route to the pilgrimage cave at Amarnath, victims of an attack by suspected Muslim separatist guerrillas. Among those killed were two police officers. The other casualties were a militant, three civilians and five pilgrims, including three women. The yatra has been temporarily suspended after the blast, with 300 pilgrims being stopped at Anantnag from going on to Pahalgam. No more pilgrims are being allowed to proceed from Jammu either. No guerrilla group claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack, the latest in a rash of violence across the Himalayan state.




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Hindus Try to Clean Taj Mahal After Pakistani President's Visit
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:48:02 ( 721 reads )


Source: Religion New Service





NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 21, 2001: More than a dozen members of the Shiv Sena party were arrested July 21 when they started to scrub the floors of the mausoleum with cow urine and water from the Ganges River, according to the Associated Press. Hindus hold both the river and cows as sacred. On July 15, the 17th century Muslim monument was visited by Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and his wife. A dubious theory circulates in India that the Taj Mahal was once a Hindu temple, perhaps prompting the attempted purification of the place built in the 17th century by Muslim emperor Shah Jehan for his wife.




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Parsis Turn to Solar Power to Dispose of Their Dead
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:47:02 ( 693 reads )


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BOMBAY, INDIA, JULY 18, 2001: The Parsi community of Bombay -- who leave their dead out in the open to be consumed by vultures -- have turned to science to aid them in their centuries-old ritual. The Bombay Parsi council has installed giant solar reflectors to speed-up the process of decomposition of corpses because there are not enough vultures around to consume the bodies. It is against the Parsis' Zoroastrian faith to either bury, burn or drown their dead. So the Parsi dead are disposed of by keeping the body in a "Tower of Silence." These large cylindrical towers are where the dead are left to be consumed by birds of prey. Because the vulture population has declined in numbers, apparently due to some kind of environmental poisoning, the bodies are left lying around for much longer. Although the solar reflectors have been successful, the long-term solution to the problem is the building of an aviary, where vultures will be bred in captivity.




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India Nationalists Denounce President Bush's Cat
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:46:02 ( 720 reads )


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BOMBAY, INDIA, July 19, 2001: Nationalists protested in front of the U.S. Consulate here Thursday, saying the name of President Bush's cat -- "India" -- was an insult and should be removed from the White House Web site. "Mr. President, don't make a mistake. Indians are lions not cats," read posters held up by some of the 30 activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party. "We feel that this is derogatory and the Web site should be corrected," said Mangal Prabhat Lodha, a state legislator and member of the party. "We happened to see the Web site where the cat is introduced along with other Bush family members. That's when we realized that George Bush's cat is called 'India,' " said Lodha. "No, we are not asking for renaming. We just want mention of the cat to be removed from the Web site," said Lodha. He handed a protest letter to a consulate official, who said it would be forwarded to the White House. The Web site -- http://whitehouse.gov/president/ -- contains a thumbnail sketch of Bush and introduces his wife, twin daughters and the family pets -- two dogs and a cat.




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Last Chance for Meat and Drink Before Shravan Observances
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:45:02 ( 758 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, July 21, 2001: Yesterday was the last night of indulgence for meat-eaters as the one-month period of abstinence begins today with the onset of the month of Shravan. And indulge they did, according to this report in the Chalo Mumbai news web site. Manjunath Shetty, owner of Ashoka Restaurant & Bar in Dadar, said, "Business almost doubled today. It's only 10 pm, and already the chicken dishes are over. But these people are happy as long as they get anything non-vegetarian. We will be open longer than normal working hours." Ajit Lalani, owner of Sheetal Wines in Chembur, said, "We are happy with this huge rush. From tomorrow, in any case, we will be swatting flies for a month." Many are looking forward to the period of abstinence. Ananya Rao, a Thane housewife, said, "The abstinence will not only fulfill my religious duties, but also help me lose some weight." Rajesh Mahajan, a Navi Mumbai-based counsellor for drug and alcohol dependents, said, "Most consumers of alcoholic beverages, even confirmed alcoholics, take their pledge of abstinence quite seriously during this month. However, that is more than made up for during Ganesh Utsav festival."




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Americans Divided Over Whether Pets Get Heavenly Pass
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:44:02 ( 849 reads )


Source: Religion News Service





WASHINGTON, D.C., July 20, 2001: Will the family dog have a heavenly home or be shut out from the streets paved with gold? Americans are split on whether pets will gain entrance to heaven when they die, a new ABC News/Beliefnet poll shows. Forty-three percent think pets will go to heaven while 40 percent think heaven is only for people. The issue came up in the 1996 movie version of "Robinson Crusoe." In one scene, Crusoe explains to "Friday" that Crusoe's dog would not go to heaven, according to Christianity. Friday, supposedly the primitive pagan, consoled Crusoe and told Crusoe he'd take care of Crusoe's dog in his non-Christian heaven.




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Nepal to Amend Women's Property Rights
Posted on 2001/7/17 23:49:02 ( 781 reads )


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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, July 17, 2001: Nepal's parliamentary Law and Justice Committee today approved the most controversial clause in the bill proposing an 11th amendment to the Muluki Ain, or civil code, that would now allow women to retain parental property even after marriage. The change is taking place after extensive research in all areas of the country to access the opinion of Nepalese citizens. Under present law, a women could be required to return property upon marriage which had been previously given her by her parents. The proposed bill recognizes daughters as equal heirs of the parental property and as having a share in the husband's property even before a divorce. It also removes age restriction for widows to claim property from her in-laws. Earlier this year, members of this committee spent days travelling to all 14 zones in the country discussing the controversial bill. They had prepared 20 questions asking if the people supported the idea of equal property rights and, if they did, what should be the mode of distribution: should the property be equally divided among the sons and daughters or first let the parents keep a part of it and then distribute it among the children? Other options were, should the "will" system be introduced and, if so, should the parent be free to give the property to the children of their choice or let the state decide after the death of the parents. The existing laws do not give rights to women to stake their claim on parental property unless they are over 35 years of age and unmarried until then.




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No German Law on Children's Names
Posted on 2001/7/17 23:48:02 ( 826 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today





HAWAII, USA, July 17, 2001: Several responses to a query sent out on HPI regarding German laws on children's name has elicited several responses indicating there are no such laws. The issue arose when a Tamil father in a German town was told he could not give his new-born daughter anything other than a German name. It is suggested that parents encountering such a situation in Germany or any other country consult a lawyer to ascertain their actual legal rights, and not take the word of a local official as final.




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Believers in Laos Forced to Resign From Christianity
Posted on 2001/7/17 23:47:02 ( 828 reads )


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LAOS, July 18, 2001: In the communist state of Laos, officials in have declared Christianity the "No. 1 enemy of the state." Christians in droves are being forced to sign a declaration officially renouncing their faith. According to The Bible League, those who refuse to sign the document face prison sentences under very hard conditions. Laos ranks No. 2 on the Open Doors International Persecution List, which means it is the second most restrictive nation in the world in terms of religious freedom. This very interesting "persecution list" is available at http://www.gospelcom.net/od/wwlist.htm. Saudi Arabia ranks first, Pakistan 18th, Indonesia 29th, India 37th, Iraq 41st, Nepal 42nd, Sri Lanka 48th, Malaysia 49th, Israel 69th, Mauritius 70th, Bangladesh 71st, Thailand 72nd and Singapore 75th out of the 86 countries considered by this organization to seriously impair religious freedom, or more specifically, the freedom of Christians.




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