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Elephant Band Gets Rave Reviews
Posted on 2001/4/24 23:46:02 ( 725 reads )


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LAMPANG, THAILAND, April, 23, 2001: 59-year-old American Richard Lair, aka Professor Elephant, is the conductor of the world's first and only elephant orchestra comprising 12 jumbos on a wide range of ingenious percussion, string and woodwind instruments. While Phangkhawt and her fellow musicians are unlikely to put the Vienna Philharmonic out of business, their 19-track compact disc got a warm review from Robert Halliday, classical music critic for the Bangkok Post. "The results of this inter-species musical experiment are, at their best, so communicative that I defy listeners unfamiliar with the circumstances to spot them as non-human in origin." Lair and fellow conservationists hope the CD will draw attention to the tragedy of Thailand's domestic elephant population, which is down to 2,500 from some 100,000 a century ago. Funds garnered through the elephants' performances and CD go back into conservation of the species. So after music, painting and an occasional Hollywood role, what can the elephants do for an encore? "The next step," says Lair, "is to teach them how to write novels."




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Abortion in India is Tipping Scales Sharply Against Girls
Posted on 2001/4/23 23:49:02 ( 857 reads )


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AFFARPUR, INDIA, April 21, 2001: Though India outlawed sex-determination tests in a weakly enforced law in 1994, their use has spread to small towns served by itinerant doctors who carry an ultrasound machines from clinic to clinic. Here in the northern state of Punjab, Gurjit Kaur, 22, said she paid 500 rupees, US$10.87, for an ultrasound test a year ago, then aborted her pregnancy after a doctor told her she was carrying a girl. Pregnant again with the longed-for male child, she said "our elders wanted a boy." Early figures from the 2001 census have made it clear that female fetuses are being regularly aborted, continuing a trend that first became marked in the 1980's. The number of girls per 1,000 boys dropped to 927 this year from 945 in 1991 and 962 in 1981. The fall in the ratio of girls to boys over the past decade, when India's population grew by 181 million, has been most extreme in the richest states of the north and west, where people can afford tests and abortions. India has the lowest ratio of females to males among the 10 most populous countries in the world. In the USA, 1.6 million of 6 million pregnancies each year are aborted, with no distinction between boys and girls, and at an average cost of $300.




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Racial Tensions in Bradford
Posted on 2001/4/23 23:48:02 ( 741 reads )


Source: The Times





BRADFORD, ENGLAND, April 20, 2001: West Yorkshire County and downtown Bradford was scene to a small riot fuelled by drunken whites who ignited the tensions between Hindus and Muslims. Apparently, a Hindu engagement party was rudely interrupted with racial slurs from a group of whites. When the trouble spilled out into the street, Muslims owning a nearby restaurant entered into the brawl which soon escalated beyond control. Starting at 7 p.m. last Sunday, the trouble was finally brought under control by the police at 2 a.m. Two pubs were fire bombed, eight people were injured, shops were plundered, and a Hindu-owned pharmacy ransacked. The city is well aware of the racial tensions which seem to prevail among Muslim youth. These immigrants live in areas of the city where unemployment is twice the national average.




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Paris Hosts Indian Festival
Posted on 2001/4/23 23:47:02 ( 748 reads )


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PARIS, FRANCE, April 21, 2001: With a mission to expose the people of France to Indian culture, Anne Klasen, a French author, has organized her third Indian festival. Fascinated with Indian people and culture, Klasen has made annual visits to India since 1960. It is this love of India that has given the fire necessary to organize the festival where the French people will be entertained by popular Hindi films, music concerts and dances. Indian handicrafts and food will be on sale and, for the intellectual, debates on Indian politics and society. French schools will be visited by the festival and Indian meals served in their cafeteria for a day.




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Impressed by the Kumbha Mela, Israelis Organize Boombamela
Posted on 2001/4/23 23:46:02 ( 707 reads )


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ASHKELON, ISRAEL, April 22, 2001: Over 30,000 Israelis gathered last week for four days at Nitzanim beach on the Mediterranean to celebrate "Boombamela," a festival modeled loosely on the Kumbha Mela. As well, it appears to have a connection with dance "raves." The organizers said they were inspired by Kumbha Mela and started the event in Israel three years ago. Many of the visitors at the festival have been to India or are planning to visit. ''The New Age festivals are finding increasing takers in this country, reflecting the trend among Israelis to seek escape from the inevitable cycle of violence they see in this land,'' said a professor of Tel Aviv University. Searching for essence of life in esoteric and mystical philosophies, a number of Israelis get attracted to Indian philosophy and spiritualism like that of Tantra Buddhism and Shirdi Sai Baba. Over 25,000 Israelis visit India every year.




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Link Shown Between Behavior and Child Care
Posted on 2001/4/23 23:45:02 ( 682 reads )


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WASHINGTON, April 18, 2001: The results of a study financed by the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development that began in 1990 in ten different cities across the U.S. has been tabulated. More than 1,100 children that receive child care defined as care by someone else other than the child's mother for at least 10 hours per week were observed. Quoting the article, "The study found a direct correlation between time spent in child care and traits like aggression, defiance and disobedience." Behavior ratings of the children were given by their mothers, other caregivers and kindergarten teachers. Researchers, including Dr. Belsky who has overseen the study, are unable at this point to identify why children in child care may be more aggressive or disobedient. Dr. Sarah Friedman who has coordinated the study for the child health institute suggests that child care providers may not be trained to emotionally support children or parents may simply be too overworked.




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Did Scientists C.V. Raman Consult Astrology?
Posted on 2001/4/20 23:49:02 ( 1080 reads )


Source: The Hindu





BANGALORE, INDIA, April 19, 2001: An on-going debate over making Vedic astrology a university subject in India has taken a new twist. The University Grants Commission's (UGC) Chairman, Mr. Hari Gautam, defended the proposal by saying that "the Nobel laureate, Sir C.V. Raman, had called astrology a science." Prof. S. Ramaseshan, renowned physicist and Sir Raman's nephew, in a letter to The Hindu, said: "I am disturbed to find that Raman's name is now being invoked to defend the introduction of such courses. He held that astrology had no rational basis. He would have been outraged to learn that the UGC wants to introduce astrology courses.'' But Ms. Gayatri Devi Vasudev, editor of The Astrological Magazine, and daughter of the late celebrated astrologer Dr. B.V. Raman, in a succinct rebuttal to the same newspaper refuted that Prof. Ramaseshan could have had privy to every detail of Sir Raman's private life. "That Sir Raman did not believe in astrology, as claimed by his nephew, is no argument against it if he had not made a study of jyotisha systematically. Mrs. C.V. Raman was a regular visitor of my own revered father, the late Dr. B.V. Raman, whose name today is synonymous with jyotisha or astrology and would consult him on Sir Raman's chart on his behalf," citing documentation from her father's autobiography.




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Converted Catholic Priests Speaks Out
Posted on 2001/4/20 23:48:02 ( 770 reads )


Source: Rediff on the Net





VARNASI, INDIA, April 17, 2001: More information has become available on the Catholic priest, Father Anthony Fernandes, who converted to Hinduism here on Tuesday. The Jesuit priest was converted at a public ceremony at Ram Krishna Temple in the ancient Hindu city. "Today is a day of great joy for me, as I am no more attached to any church; from today, Fr. Anthony is no more and Shankar Dev has taken birth," Anthony told rediff.com just after Hindu priests formally declared him as a member of the community. After a Dasvidh Snan (holy bath), Fernandes was draped in a saffron robe with sandalwood paste on his forehead. "The change is not a publicity stunt nor just a religious transformation for me. I have gone for this change only to be rid of the corrupt society I had been living in all these years," remarked the middle-aged priest. "It is out of my personal experience that I can tell the wrong deeds of Indian missionaries where I spent three decades. They have created a situation where one can easily raise questions about their working. Those sitting on high positions whom people consider as spiritual leaders, in fact play a dubious role," said the former father, who served in the Christian missions of Goa and Gujarat since childhood. "For 400 years our family has served as true Catholics. I grew up in Majorda, Goa, where 80% of the people are Christians. After education at St Xavier's, Ahmedabad, I opted to serve as a priest. "What I have been watching since the early 70s is a big fraud being played with Christianity itself. Christianity is being misused by some in India. People like the bishops are the most corrupt. In the name of minorities, they are grabbing donations for themselves. Only a deep probe can expose the real faces behind the spotless white robes," stated Fernandes. However, it was not the end of the rough ride for Fernandes, who now fears the wrath of his four brothers, who are still staunch Christians. "They may oppose me, but time will certainly tell them what I did was right; after all, I have adopted a religion that was not only the most ancient and practiced by our own ancestors, but also a culture in itself," he said.




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Government Confirms Decision To Rename Allahabad
Posted on 2001/4/20 23:47:02 ( 793 reads )


Source: The Hindu





LUCKNOW, INDIA, April 20, 2001: Yielding to popular demand, the Uttar Pradesh Government today confirmed the renaming of Allahabad as Prayagraj, its ancient name.




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UK Bans Human Cloning
Posted on 2001/4/20 23:46:02 ( 711 reads )


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BRITAIN, UK, April 19, 2001: Britain announced on Thursday that the government is bringing forward legislation to outlaw human cloning within months. Currently, cloning work is restricted to scientists granted licenses. Health Secretary Alan Milburn said that the only way to ensure human cloning never takes place is to ban reproductive human cloning by law. While agreeing that Britain should aim to become a world leader in the genetic revolution in healthcare, the health secretary stressed that strict boundaries must be set to reassure the public that genetic technology be harnessed for beneficial use only.




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Private Temple Opposed in South Africa
Posted on 2001/4/20 23:45:02 ( 707 reads )


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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, April 16, 2001: Striving to fulfill his religious duty with meditation and prayer, a wealthy South African Indian gentleman has chosen to build a temple on his property exclusively for family use. The plans for the structure were approved by the municipality and construction was well on its way. Fearing that the temple would be disruptive to their quiet neighborhood, Mr. Ishwar Mangaroo's neighbors have filed a petition against the construction. "If the objectors do not understand my culture and my religion, how can they object?" said Mr. Mangaroo in a statement he made to the Sunday Times Extra in Durban. Mr. Mangaroo chose to build his house in an affluent suburb occupied mostly by a white community. His neighbors claim their objections are not based on race but rather on practical considerations.




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BJP Focus on Sri Lankan Issue
Posted on 2001/4/19 23:49:02 ( 732 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, April 17, 2001: Till such a peaceful settlement is arrived at and the Island Tamils are able to return to Sri Lanka, the BJP will continue to urge the Union Government to intervene in the Sri Lankan issue for a solution that is acceptable to all Sri Lankan Tamils and will ensure peace in the island. This was one of the highlights of the party unit's election manifesto released here by the manifesto committee leader and State unit vice-president, Mr. Vaithialingam. It also urged the Indian government to continue to provide humanitarian aid to Sri Lankan refugees until it was safe for them to return home.




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Time Magazine Runs Cover Story on Yoga
Posted on 2001/4/19 23:48:02 ( 745 reads )


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April 15, 2001: Time magazine ran an extensive story on the "Science of Yoga." High profile celebrities such as Christy Turlington, Madonna, Julia Roberts, Michelle Pfeiffer and Sting are among the most persuasive advocates of the current wave of yoga practiced in the US. According to the article, yoga has evolved in American consciousness in several stages: first as a spiritual cleansing and rebirth, second as a kind of preventive medicine and currently as a fitness wave, a way to gain strength, flexibility and endurance. According to the article, more than 15 million Americans include some form of yoga in their fitness regimen, twice as many as did five years ago, and 75% of all U.S. health clubs offer yoga classes. "The Indian tradition develops metaphors and ways of describing the body (life forces, energy centers) as it it is experienced, from the inside out. The Western tradition looks at the body from the outside in, peeling it back one layer at a time, believing only what it can see, measure and prove in randomized, double-blind tests. The East treats the person, the West treats the disease," the magazine says. The article, mainly positive about the effects of yoga and the research into using it as a therapy to treat or prevent disease, also brings up the critics who cite the lack of conclusive evidence about yoga's health benefits. The magazine states, "The traditional funders of studies, the pharmaceutical giants, see no financial payoff in validating yoga: no patentable therapies and no pills."




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Ramayana in British Theatre
Posted on 2001/4/19 23:47:02 ( 700 reads )


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UNITED KINGDOM, April 13, 2001: Influencing the United Kingdom with their presence, the East Indian community has culturally infiltrated into many corners of British society. Last year saw the staging of the Mahabharata in British Theatre and this year Indhu Rubasingham's production of the Ramayana is playing at the National Olivier Theatre. This mixed review, titled "Farcical mystical tour" says the play is a "refreshingly immediate piece of rough theatre," and "Hindu epic as British panto," but we at HPI are at a loss to understand quite what either statement means.




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Meat Banned at Gujarat Government Rest Houses
Posted on 2001/4/19 23:46:02 ( 864 reads )


Source: The Hindustan Times





GANDHI NAGAR, INDIA, April 19, 2001: In a debatable decision, Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel has banned for a year serving of non-vegetarian food in the government premises like circuit houses and rest houses. The controversial decision is actually of no consequence as the circuit houses in Gujarat in any case do not cook any nonvegetarian stuff in view of the state's sizeable Jain population and also a large number of Swaminarayan sect followers who also preach vegetarianism. The chief minister has personally issued this order in view of the 2,600th birth anniversary celebrations of Lord Mahavira. The order is being viewed as his way of wooing the politically and financially influential Jain community.




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