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White House Defends Bush's Omission of Hinduism

Posted on 2002/8/3 9:49:02 ( 918 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 31, 2002: White House press secretary Ari Fleischer had a tough time explaining why President George W. Bush failed to mention Hinduism among the religions practiced in the US, even as he asserted that in line with the country's pluralistic traditions, the President had equal regard for people from all faiths. Bush had reportedly failed to list Hinduism among the religions practiced in America, though he took Christianity, Judaism and Islam in the reckoning. However, Fleischer said that he was not sure about the authenticity of the statements and would check the record to ascertain whether the President had really made such an omission. He also pointed out that President had included Hindus at faith-based meetings, where he met members of the community personally.

Police Battle Black Magic in Andhra Pradesh

Posted on 2002/8/3 9:48:02 ( 1012 reads )


HYDERABAD, INDIA June 24, 2002: Several cases of people being killed on suspicion of practicing sorcery in Andhra Pradesh have spurred the police to launch a campaign to combat age-old superstitions. The latest victim was stoned to death by four people as they suspected he had put a curse on a member of their family. In another incident a month ago, a man was dragged out of the house and set on fire, blaming him for using witchcraft to steal gold chains. The lack of basic medical care in areas of rural Andhra Pradesh force many people to seek the help of self-proclaimed sorcerers. For a small fee, the practitioners of black magic not only offer to cure an ailing person, but also cast spells on presumed enemies. However, things can go horribly wrong when angry mobs turn against the so-called sorcerers. On an average, between a dozen to two dozen people accused of practicing sorcery are killed every year in Andhra Pradesh. Judicial magistrates and other officials have been talking to the villagers to impress upon them the serious consequences of killing someone.

Eat Less, Live Longer

Posted on 2002/8/3 9:47:02 ( 1017 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C., August 3, 2002: For the first time, US researchers have found evidence suggesting people may live longer by eating fewer calories each day, a dietary restriction that already has shown in experiments to extend the lives of laboratory animals by up to 40 per cent. Even if the evidence proves to be correct, it's unknown how much extra time people might live. Laboratory studies for decades have shown that reducing the calories fed to lab mice and rats enabled the animals to live much longer, but the same effect has not been positively demonstrated in monkeys or in humans. Now, George S Roth and his colleagues at the National Institute on Aging say they have preliminary evidence that biological changes that help create superaged rodents may also work in humans.

Immigration Naturalization Service Admits Backlog of Documents

Posted on 2002/8/3 9:46:02 ( 955 reads )

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WASHINGTON, D.C., August 2, 2002: More than two million documents filed by foreigners, from change of address forms to requests for benefits, have been piling up for years and only now are being reviewed by the government, senior U.S. officials said Friday. Immigration experts and civil rights groups said the situation is embarrassing to the government and an affront to foreigners who have tried to play by the rules. "It exposes one of the INS' dirty secrets," said Lucas Guttentag, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's immigration rights project. "The agency's own record-keeping and information systems are completely inadequate, yet it so often turns around and punishes law-abiding immigrants when the agency's own shoddy record keeping is at fault."

Caste Discrimination Lives On

Posted on 2002/8/3 9:45:02 ( 1183 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, July 28, 2002: Despite police action against the practice of untouchability in tea shops of rural Tamil Nadu, several shopkeepers, under pressure from caste Hindus, continue with the discriminatory "two-tumbler" system. Tea shops in several villages serve hot beverages in "two tumblers"--cheap glass ones for the Dalits and shiny stainless steel containers for the caste Hindus. And now, a "three-tumbler'' system too is adopted in some areas-plastic cups for outsiders whose caste identity is not known. Despite a law prohibiting it, the ubiquitous "Two Tumbler" system is still in operation in rural teashops around Tamil Nadu. Though the "two and three-tumbler" system is a brazen violation of the SC\ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Protection of Civil Rights Act, it is an accepted practice in southern Tamil Nadu. If tea shops do not discriminate against the Dalits, the caste Hindus will throw the shop owners out. The only positive development over the years is the withdrawal of coconut shell, referred to as "sirattai," which served as the tea cup for the Dalits. Though widespread, the practice has been escaping the attention of officials. The primary reason is that the Dalit victims are not willing to lodge a formal complaint for fear of further oppression by the caste Hindus. Another reason is that the villagers do not want to ignite caste flare-ups over a cup of tea. When officials make surprise inspections, the tumblers vanish and disposable cups take their place. Whenever there is a threat of agitation from any organization, the villagers "unite together.''

World Hindu Conference Set For Trinidad October 25, 2002

Posted on 2002/8/3 9:44:02 ( 949 reads )


TRINIDAD, July 31, 2002: A conference on Hinduism in Trinidad, West Indies, will be held on October 25 to 27, 2002. The conference forms part of the observance of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha. The conference will be hosted jointly by the Sanatan Dhama Maha Sabha Inc, (SDMS) of Trinidad and Tobago and the History Department of the University of the West Indies (UWI) on the Hindu Presence in Trinidad & Tobago. Panels of scholars from Trinidad and Tobago and abroad will explore the Hindu presence and influence in the area. Among the proposed panels are: The Hindu Family, The Early Establishment of Hinduism, Hindus and Politics, Leadership in the Hindu Community and the Hindu Youth Movement. The Conference will be held at the SDMS Headquarters and the Learning Resource Center UWI, St. Augustine. For more information, e-mail "source" above.

Science and Meditation Conference

Posted on 2002/8/3 9:43:02 ( 1229 reads )


DEHRADUN, INDIA, August 3, 2002: Swami Veda Bharati will conduct an International Conference On Science And Meditation at his Ashram and Medical College, Rishikesh - Dehradun, November 10 to 12, 2002. For more information, contact "source" above.

England's House Of Commons Votes For Own Indian Restaurant

Posted on 2002/8/2 9:49:02 ( 1077 reads )

Source: Sify.com

LONDON, ENGLAND, July 28, 2002: Britain's House of Commons will soon have an authentic, in-house Indian restaurant to the delight of curry fans including: Chancellor Gordon Brown, Leader of the House Robin Cook and Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short. Conservative Members of Parliament have cheekily suggested a name for the restaurant: "Hinduja's, after the controversial Indian-born industrialists who are said to have incurred favors from Tony Blair's Labor-led government," the Sunday Telegraph reported. Until now, Members of Parliament had to leave the House of Commons for Indian restaurants around Westminster, with the worry that they could miss a vital vote. David Hinchliffe, the Labor chairman of the Commons health select committee and a fan of hot Madras curries, told the Telegraph: "It's a fantastic idea provided it is authentic curry. I don't want a tame English version."

Amarnath Siva Lingam Melts in Unusual Weather

Posted on 2002/8/2 9:48:02 ( 1113 reads )


AMARNATH, INDIA, July 31, 2002: Unusually high temperatures in Kashmir have melted an ice stalagmite considered the image of Lord Siva, but this makes little difference to thousands of pilgrims who have braved potential and real rebel attacks to reach the Himalayan cave. "When a large number of people gather in the shrine, the temperature rises," said Kaniya Lal, a scientist in Kashmir's meteorological department. "Even if there is a rise of two degrees (Celsius) inside the cave, the Lingam starts melting." "Besides, there has been a gradual rise in overall temperature and drought-like conditions are prevailing in the state," he said. Most pilgrims, however, believe that even without the Lingam the site is still holy. "The absence of the Lingam does not reduce the reverence of the place," said Mohan Lal, from Haryana. The cave, is expected to draw more than 175,000 pilgrims this year.

Nepal's Crown Princess Gives Birth to a Boy

Posted on 2002/8/2 9:47:02 ( 913 reads )


KATHMANDU, NEPAL, July 30, 2002: A healthy prince was born Tuesday to Nepal's crown prince, making the newborn next-in-line to the throne of the Himalayan kingdom after his father. Soldiers of the Royal Nepalese Army gave a traditional 21-gun salute after the birth, the first royal celebration after a palace massacre and a year of mourning. The baby was born to Crown Prince Paras and Princess Himani. He is heir to the throne of this Hindu kingdom, a constitutional monarchy where most people regard their kings as reincarnations of the Hindu God Vishnu. The birth is potentially significant for the kingdom, and may increase the chances of Prince Paras being accepted by the people when his turn comes as king. Having an heir may make a difference for the widely disliked and misbehaving prince.

Swami Maheswarananda Receives Humanitarian Award in Croatia

Posted on 2002/8/2 9:46:02 ( 1110 reads )


CROATIA, July 8, 2002: On Monday, July 8th, Mr. Stjepan Mesic, President of the Republic of Croatia, presented Swami Maheshwarananda the highest award for his humanitarian work. Swami Maheswarananda has been known in this part of the world for thirty years for spreading a message of peace, tolerance and mutual understanding of different religions and cultures. Sri Sarvabhaum Jagadguru Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, as he is now known, was born in Rajasthan, India, in 1945. In 1971 he made his first trip to Europe and established residence in Vienna, Austria. He founded yoga centers in neighboring countries: Czech and Slovak Republics, Germany, Hungary and Yugoslavia (now Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina). In the eighties he established his yoga centers, known as Yoga in Daily Life, in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. Swami Maheshwarananda recently conducted a peace prayer in Croatia, on the Adriatic coast. Among those in attendance were political leaders, parliament members and representatives of Islam and Catholic religious communities. Swamiji has been coming to give lectures and seminars in Croatia for many years and has a large following there. There are Yoga in Daily Life centers in most major cities of Croatia. In a country of five million there are approximately ten thousand practicing his system.

Protesters Greet Sadhvi Rithambara in New York

Posted on 2002/7/30 9:49:02 ( 932 reads )


NEW YORK, USA, July 27, 2002: Sadhvi Rithambara was at the Ganesha Temple in Flushing, New York, to raise funds for her new project -- homes and shelters for orphans and widows. Rithambara, a well-known voice of Hindutva in India, was confronted with her political past as angry protesters demonstrated outside the auditorium where she was scheduled to speak. The demonstrators condemned Hindu political groups for the Gujarat communal riots and distributed handouts outside the temple, emphasizing Rithambara's involvement in the December, 1992, Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya. Others defended her. "She is more of a religious leader than anything else," rebutted an angry N. Lalchandani. A founding director of the Nargis Dutt Memorial Trust and trustee of Satya Narayan Temple in Queens, Lalchandani insisted the demonstrators were not stating the truth. "There are two sides of the picture," he said. "Everybody can say what they want. She used to be a politician. She is no more in politics. Now she is totally religious." Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple society said, "The temple did not know she was going to speak. They just booked the hall. If we had known she was an extreme radical at one time, we would have never allowed this event to happen." At one point, when classical singer Pandit Jasraj passed by, heading towards the auditorium, a few protestors shouted: "Pandit Jasraj, how can you listen to this woman? You are a secular man. Pandit Jasraj, please don't go inside." Jasraj returned to talk to the demonstrators, but in the midst of the confusion, no proper dialogue was possible. Later, speaking to rediff.com, Jasraj said, "I did not like the way they were shouting 'Hindu terrorist hai hai.' They should condemn all terrorists."

Orissa's Most Famous Elephant Recovering

Posted on 2002/7/30 9:48:02 ( 1027 reads )


PURI, INDIA, July 29, 2002: Laxmi, the elephant who became seriously ill during the Puri Rath Yatra, is now responding to medicines and the prayers of hundreds of villagers. Meanwhile the wildlife division has decided to take action against the district administration for using the animal without proper medical verification and authorization. After six days of agony, laying along the road where she fell after being marched several days back toward her home, Laxmi is now showing signs of improvement.

Sabarimala Pollution Cleanup Urgent

Posted on 2002/7/30 9:47:02 ( 1211 reads )


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, July 28, 2002: The Environment Committee of the State Assembly has called for urgent steps to check the pollution hazards faced by the hill shrine of Sabarimala. Millions of Ayyappa devotees pilgrimage to this sacred place from across the country during the November-January season. In a report given to the Assembly recently, a nine-member panel said health concerns caused by pollutants and environmental stress posed a grave threat to the very sanctity of the hill shrine. "No other holy place in India is visited by such a large number of pilgrims within a short span of three months every year. Naturally, the environmental hazards faced by Sabarimala are huge,'' the report noted. The excessively high cloriform count in the Pampa River due to human waste, large amounts of plastic refuse, even though the sale of plastic articles is banned, improving available medical facilities, regular checking of the hygiene of food supplied by hotels and way-side eateries and providing stalls to supply good quality food to pilgrims are some of the concerns.

World Turning to Bicycle for Mobility

Posted on 2002/7/30 9:46:02 ( 1169 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 17, 2002: In the year 2000, world bicycle production reached 101 million, more than double the 41 million cars produced. This article, extolling the virtues of bicycles, states that sales are soaring because bikes provide affordable mobility for billions of people, increase physical fitness, alleviate traffic congestion, and do not pollute the air. The bicycle reduces the amount of land that needs to be paved, with six bicycles fitting into the road space typically used by one car. The automobile fleet expanded and people returning to cities has created worsening traffic congestion worldwide. The article states that in London today, the average speed a car can actually travel on a typical street is about the same as that of a horse-drawn carriage a century ago. Many countries in northern Europe have turned to the bicycle to ease traffic congestion and reduce air pollution. In Stockholm, for example, car use has declined in recent years. Railroads and buses are increasingly linked with pedestrian and bicycle routes. In Sweden's urban areas, roughly 10 percent of all trips are taken by bicycle. In many cities in the U.S., bikes provide mobility that cars cannot match. More than four fifths of all urban police departments now have some of their force on bicycles.

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