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Sabarimala Pollution Cleanup Urgent

Posted on 2002/7/30 9:47:02 ( 1226 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 ( 1196 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.

Muslim Militants Attack Amarnath Pilgrims

Posted on 2002/7/30 9:45:02 ( 954 reads )


SRINAGAR, INDIA, July 30, 2002: Two people were killed and three seriously injured when a powerful blast ripped apart a car on Anantnag-Amarnath road in Anantnag in south Kashmir on Tuesday evening, official sources said. The blast took place inside a taxi, seriously injuring five persons on K. P. Road near Anantnag bus stand, 55 kms from here, around 5:20 p. m., they said. The injured were immediately rushed to a hospital where two of them were declared dead, the sources said. One of the occupants of the vehicle escaped unhurt. The vehicle was heading towards Pahalgam, the base camp for Amarnath yatra.

Mumbai Festivals May Lose Big Sponsors

Posted on 2002/7/30 9:44:02 ( 1028 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, July 19, 2002: Uttar Pradesh has joined the list of states where pan masala (betel leaf and nut) and gutka (a tobacco product) are under an official ban following Thursday's order by the Allahabad High court directing the Uttar Pradesh government to ban the sale, production and advertisement of pan masala and gutka. The ban in UP comes just a day after the ban was announced in Maharashtra. In Mumbai, the organizers of festivals are worried that the ban will affect celebrations this year. For several years, gutka manufacturers have been sponsoring all major festivals like Janmashtami and Dandiyai in the city. Festival organizers are on the lookout for new sponsors. About three million people are addicted to gutka in Maharashtra and these festivals are used by the manufacturers as there main form of advertising to reach new consumers. Many experts would like to see the ban extend to all tobacco products.

Guyanese Immigrants Flock to Schenectady, New York

Posted on 2002/7/29 9:49:02 ( 1262 reads )


SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK, JULY 26, 2002: Mayor Albert P. Jurczynski's (pronounced jur-ZIN-ski) involvement with the Hindu community began after he received a telephone call last year from Deryck Singh, a Guyanese immigrant who settled here 15 years earlier and was looking for a place to build a Hindu temple. There were only 200 Guyanese immigrants living here, but the mayor helped them find a vacant Catholic church to house the temple, and in the process he learned a few things about the Guyanese, he said. Mr. Jurczynski recalled Mr. Singh, who moved here from the Bronx after stumbling on Schenectady one afternoon during a drive up the New York State Thruway, saying Guyanese people "don't believe in public assistance." "When I heard that, I had a big smile on my face," the mayor said. "And I said, 'You're singing my tune.' " After that, the mayor began to meet and greet more Guyanese immigrants, including two savvy real estate brokers from Queens, one of whom hosts a radio show in New York City. Last May, the mayor called in to "Herman Singh Show Time" and told the largely Guyanese audience that they should move to Schenectady and call him directly on his cell phone. It was a bold move, but it was subtle compared to what came next. What has followed over the ensuing months has been an amazing success story for Guyanese Hindu immigrants and the city of Schenectady. The town is 150 north of New York City, and a short distance outside Albany, the state's capital.

Dedication of Lokenath Prem Temple

Posted on 2002/7/29 9:48:02 ( 1139 reads )


KOLKATA, INDIA, July 29, 2002: On the auspicious occasion of Guru Purnima (July 24, 2002), Loknath Divine Life Mission celebrated the Mahakumbhabhishekam (dedication) of Lokenath Prem Mandir (temple) and Prana Paratisthapana of Mahayogi Baba Lokenath's (1730-1890) Divya Murthi at 99/5/15 Ballygunj Place, Kolkata. Parampujya Swami Shuddhananda Brahmachari, Founder President of the Mission, inaugurated the newly constructed temple dedicated to the Himalayan Yogi who is considered as a living Siva by millions of followers all over the world.

Overcooked Potatoes Carcinogenic?

Posted on 2002/7/29 9:47:02 ( 1097 reads )

Source: Times of India

LONDON, ENGLAND, July 26, 2002: New research on acrylamide levels in cooked food has confirmed fears that french fries and potato chips may not just be clogging arteries and padding guts, they may be the main causes of cancer too. The findings reported in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society suggest that fried, oven-baked and deep-fried potato and cereal products contain high levels of acrylamide, a carcinogen found in overcooked food that poses a health risk if consumed in high levels.

Tamil Nadu State Government Sponsors Weddings for Poor Couples

Posted on 2002/7/29 9:46:02 ( 353 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, July 14, 2002: For some families in Tamil Nadu the expense of sponsoring a wedding for their daughters has become so high that many young ladies are unable to get married. Stepping in to assist these families, the state government under the direction of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa recently sponsored 1,008 marriages. Jayalalithaa said, "The couples who were married on Sunday weren't selected on the basis of their caste or religion. They were human beings and had difficulty in financing marriages." Newly-wed couples were presented with household gift articles valued at US$92.00. Each couple was also allowed to invite ten relatives to the grand event, and the government provided a lavish meal for all the participants.

Mom's Work Affects Child's Development

Posted on 2002/7/29 9:45:02 ( 970 reads )


COLUMBIA, USA, July 17, 2002: Three researchers from Columbia University have co-authored a report that indicates children whose mothers return to full-time work, exceeding 30 hours per week, have lower cognitive and verbal development scores by the time they reach three years of age. This was in comparison to children whose mothers were stay-at-home mothers. Two factors reduced the effect for working mothers; namely better child care and sensitive mothering. Researcher Jeanne Brooks Gunn says, "By sensitivity we mean being responsive to the baby. If the baby needs comforting, the mother is comforting. If the baby's active, she's talking and playing with him. It means responding to where the child is. Also, get the best child care you can afford." Published in the July-August issue of the Journal of Child Development, the article enters a plea to American businesses and the government to have family policies in place that allow women to delay returning to work during these first crucial nine months.

M Night Shyamalan on His Next Film

Posted on 2002/7/29 9:44:02 ( 1097 reads )

Source: Associated Press

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, July 29, 2002: M. Night Shyamalan says he wanted to include more emotion in his new film than there was in his hit "The Sixth Sense" and its less successful followup, "Unbreakable." The 31-year-old director says he moved away from the detached tone of those movies with "Signs." "What I realized with 'Unbreakable' is that it doesn't matter if you have technical prowess if you don't connect with the people in the theater," Shyamalan told the Daily News of Los Angeles. "So I decided to just let myself be myself on this one and show the two things about me that I don't think I've let audiences see -- joy and emotion." "Signs," which opens this week, stars Mel Gibson as a former minister who has renounced God and finds himself facing possible evidence of a coming space invasion. Shyamalan says the movie is about spirituality -- but not necessarily about religion. "Religion is some group saying their particular version of God is the right version, and that's hard for me to accept," he said. "The world has become such a smaller place. It makes it hard for me to believe that the guy in Nepal and the little boy in Africa and the old man in Maine, all three of them with different versions of God, and yet maybe none of them are right." "I just can't believe that. There has to be some unifying thing."

Jagannatha Temple Announces Website

Posted on 2002/7/29 9:43:02 ( 1086 reads )


PURI, ORISSA, INDIA, July 29, 2002: The JagannathTemple Managing Committee announced their new website, "source" above, providing information on the temple, its history, legends, management, festivals, on-line ordering of pujas and various charitable activities.

Writer Wants Your Favorite Scriptural Verses

Posted on 2002/7/29 9:42:02 ( 955 reads )


CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA, July 29, 2002: Kimberley Langford-Fluet is writing a series of books about faith and looking for contributors from all religious backgrounds. The first in the series, "Faith... A Work in Progress" was recently published. The second book is to be, "Faith... A Work In Progress... Motivation and Inspiration." She said, "I would like contributors to send me their favorite scripture verses along with a couple of paragraphs about what it means for them." The third book is to be, "Faith... A Work In Progress... Stories of Faith" and for this she is "looking for stories about conversions, forgiveness, healing, how to get along with people from other faiths, how individuals strengthened their relationship with God and so on." Contact her at "source" above.

Hopes High for the New Generation and Religion

Posted on 2002/7/28 9:49:02 ( 1102 reads )


SAN FRANCISCO, USA July 18, 2002: Researchers -- raising the hopes of clergy everywhere -- say there are millions of young people like this from all religious backgrounds. "When my friends were kids, they went to church because they had to," said the 17-year-old Gonzales "Now, most of my friends are involved because they want to be." Gonzales is part of the generation dubbed "millennials," children born starting in 1982, who researchers believe are more spiritual and less individualistic than their mostly baby-boomer parents. Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of the book "Millennials Rising," say these young people also prefer group activities and want clear rules set for them -- a combination that seemingly guarantees they will be sitting in the pews as adults. Some theologians have expressed concern that such generalizations will lead to ministries that market spirituality merely as an activity. But many religious thinkers who follow youth trends agree with the findings, and have urged churches to do more to ensure the millennials fulfill their religious potential. The Rev. Christopher Robinson, a Catholic priest and professor at DePaul University in Chicago, said religious rituals -- what he calls "chanting and smells and bells" -- are attractive to the millennials. That is because they come from homes that rejected tradition, and the practices are new to them, he said. While this study was done in the USA, observers in India have also noted a similar trend among this generation.

Doctors Study the Health Benefits of Yoga

Posted on 2002/7/28 9:48:02 ( 1052 reads )


USA, July 23, 2002: Physicians in the U.S. and abroad are conducting a variety of studies to determine whether yoga offers health benefits beyond general fitness and relieve symptoms associated with serious medical problems. Early results suggest that a regular yoga regimen can offer relief for patients suffering from asthma, chronic back pain, arthritis and obsessive compulsive disorder, among other problems. Today, several American doctors are pursuing randomized yoga studies, and the National Institutes of Health is funding clinical trials of yoga for treating insomnia and multiple sclerosis. Medical or "therapeutic" yoga focuses on breathing and meditation techniques that calm the mind, increase lung capacity and reduce stress. It differs from the intense techniques popularly taught in health clubs. Dr. Vijay Vad, sports medicine specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, is studying 50 patients with herniated disks who are suffering from lower back pain. Half the group does not take drugs, but instead spends 15 minutes, three days a week on an exercise program that is about 70 percent yoga. After three months, the results showed 80 percent of patients in the yoga group reported that their pain was reduced by at least half.

Earthquake-Damaged Bhadreshwar Jain Temple Demolished in Gujarat

Posted on 2002/7/28 9:47:02 ( 1069 reads )


BHUJ, GUJARAT, INDIA, July 22, 2002: The world-famous Jain Temple of Bhadreshwar has been completely demolished because the structure was considered unsafe due to the extensive damage from last January's earthquake. The main temple, which was nearly 2,500 years old, used to attract people from all over the country. "It is shocking not only for Jains but everybody in Kutch," says Vanechand Mulchand Doshi, the manager of the Seth Vardhman Kalyanji Trust, which manages the Bhadreshwar Temple. The demolition work has been completed and temporary arrangement has been made from where pilgrims can take darshan of Mul Nayak Mahaveer Bhagwan and Parasnath. Fortunately, over 146 icons, most of them between 500 years and 2500 years old could be saved and all have been temporarily housed. Despite the fact that the temple does not exist, pilgrims have been pouring in from across the country. The Bhadreshwar Temple Managing Committee has been working on a project to reconstruct the Temple. The project would cost over US$3 million.

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