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VHP of America Condemns Taleban's Destruction of Buddhas
Posted on 2001/3/13 22:46:02 ( 737 reads )


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HOUSTON, TEXAS, March 10, 2001: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America issued a press release today strongly condemning the destruction of statues in Afghanistan by the Talibans. The release says, "It is an act of savagery finding parallels only in the vandalism forced by tyrants and barbarians of the past, fortunately not so prevalent in modern times since the times of Nazis. But such intolerant bigoted acts of Talibans have made our expectation of peaceful coexistence of different religions by respecting the pluralism somewhat short-lived. It has awakened all of us to the new ground realities of ever-lurking threat to humanity at large and the precarious gap between savagery and civility if left unchecked. Destruction of the statues of Lord Buddha in Bamiyan is an attack on the diversity inherent in nature. Today statues are being destroyed by Talibans; who knows what is going to be their next target?"




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Report Of Cloning Sparks Outrage
Posted on 2001/3/13 22:45:02 ( 862 reads )


Source: The Daily Pioneer





SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, March 11, 2001: Secret human cloning experiments that were conducted in Australia in 1999 implanting a cell containing human DNA into an empty pig's egg, have drawn protests from a prominent church group. Cloning a human being is illegal in Australia and carries a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment. The resulting cloned embryo survived for 32 days before it was terminated. The report comes just days after a group of American and Italian scientists said that they plan to produce the world's first cloned baby by the end of the year, possibly in Israel. The Telegraph quoted bioethicist Nick Tonti-Filippini as saying the baby-cloning project was one step further than the Australian experiment. "It has never been publicly admitted that we have already done human cloning in Australia," Tonti-Filippini said.




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India's Special Olympians Request Home-Cooked Curry
Posted on 2001/3/13 22:44:02 ( 767 reads )


Source: Anchorage Daily News





ANCHORAGE, ALASKA, March 7, 2001: India's Special Olympians, a team of handicapped individuals competing in special sports, landed in Alaska recently. Appealing to a crowd honoring a reception for the crew, a representative for the Cultural Association of India solicited volunteers to cook for the hungry athletes. Apparently the flight from India offered no familiar food in the form of rice and curry for the team. Collaborating with the Hilton hotel, the Asian community pulled together to provide the Olympians with plenty of spicy home-cooked delicacies with lots of rice. The Special Olympics serve to provide a sense of self-esteem to physically- and mentally-challenged individuals.




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Mauritius Set for Cyber Leap
Posted on 2001/3/12 22:49:02 ( 838 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today





PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS, March 12, 2001: The independence day of Mauritius falls on March 12, and this year the President of India is the island nation's guest of honor for the celebration. Manon Mardemootoo reports, "Considerable energy is now being focused by our government on making Mauritius a 'cyber Island.' India has pledged a US$21 million line of credit and is helping us set up our cyber cities. The excellent ties between the two countries, the strong cultural and privileged links maintained over the centuries, the double tax treaty, closeness, direct flights to Indian Cities, and now to Chennai, besides the strong will of the two governments, are all helping towards boosting the IT sector. Positioned between East & West, our bilingual and special position among the French-speaking, African organizations and the Commonwealth of Nations should facilitate business through Mauritius in the IT sector."




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Battery Dance Company's Special India Send-Off Performance
Posted on 2001/3/12 22:48:02 ( 879 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, March 13, 2001: Battery Dance Company will be the first American performing arts ensemble to tour India after the tragic earthquake of January 26th. A special send-off performance is scheduled for Sunday, March 25th, 3:00 p.m. at City Center, Studio 4, 130 West 56th Street, New York. The Company will give performances in Calcutta, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi and the City of Ahmedabad, which was devastated by the earthquake. Battery and its partner, the Indo-American Arts Council, will meet with members of the arts communities in each city in a series of town meetings to discuss the strengthening of artistic collaboration and exchange between India and the U.S. The Indo-American Arts will also deliver over US$100,000 in relief funds collected at an art auction fundraiser in New York to help build new homes for the people of Gujarat.




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Indian Bill Introduced To Ban Smoking In Public Places
Posted on 2001/3/12 22:47:02 ( 701 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 8, 2001: Today the Rajya Sabha introduced legislation to ban smoking in public places. The bill, introduced by Health and Family Welfare Minister C.P. Thakur, seeks to put a total ban on advertising of cigarettes and other tobacco products and to prohibit sponsorship of sports and cultural events by the manufacturers, as well as sale of tobacco products to minors. It also proposes to regulate the contents and language of specified warnings and require nicotine and tar contents to be displayed. It is estimated that the treatment of tobacco related diseases and the resulting loss of productivity cost the country US$2.9 billion annually, far surpassing any benefits accrued from revenue and employment generated by the tobacco industry.




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Allahabad To Be "Tirth Raj Prayag"
Posted on 2001/3/12 22:46:02 ( 921 reads )


Source: The Times Of India News Service





LUCKNOW, INDIA, March 7, 2001: UP chief minister Rajnath Singh announced that the historic Allahabad city would be renamed "Tirth Raj Prayag." Prayag is the ancient name of the city. The announcement was made at a function attended by sadhus and sants to congratulate the chief minister for the success of the recent Kumbh Mela there. The name change follows "Bombay" returning to "Mumbai," "Madras" to "Chennai" and "Calcutta" to "Kolkota."




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Tibetans Struggle To Preserve Culture
Posted on 2001/3/12 22:45:02 ( 784 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, March 6, 2001: This recent article discusses the attempts of the Tibetan people to preserve their culture as new immigrants to the United States. Tibetan children enrolled in a Sunday language course in Manhattan have never seen Tibet, nor have many of their parents, exiles who were born and raised in refugee settlements in India or Nepal. Young Tibetans struggle to maintain the culture of a homeland many have never seen, while also trying to adapt to a new culture. Tibetan leaders complicate the issue by expressing mixed feelings. Many believe the culture will not survive if Tibetans scatter across the globe. In just a decade, the number of Tibetan exiles in this country has increased tenfold. It is still a small group, with the largest concentration of about 2,000 people in New York City. The Immigration and Naturalization Service considers Tibetans stateless, but it has opposed most asylum requests from those who lived for most of their lives in Nepal or India. The agency's position is that an applicant must prove that he or she suffered or fears persecution in the country of last residence. U.S. Judges generally decide that India and Nepal treat Tibetan exiles well, and few asylum applications have been granted. Canada, on the other hand, grants most asylum requests from Tibetans. Judges there feel that a Tibetan who does not have citizenship in India or Nepal runs the risk of one day being deported to China, which now controls Tibet. "If you have no status in a country, you don't have a right to remain," said a Toronto lawyer. "And the Tibetans really don't have a home."




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Hindus Protest Storming Of Sydney Temple By Labor Union
Posted on 2001/3/11 22:49:02 ( 755 reads )


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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, March 11, 2001: The Hindu community in Australia's premier harbor city is up in arms after the left-wing Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) stormed the Sri Venkateswara Temple here in Helensburg, taking eight construction workers with them on the charge they were being underpaid and exploited. The Hindu Council of Australia (fax: 011 61 2 9544 4957) will hold a protest rally on March 25 against the move. The head of the temple management committee, Perumal Janarthan, denied the charges and blamed the trade union of being insensitive to Hinduism. The protesters will meet at Sydney Town Hall and march to the Parliament House. "We have made it clear that we are not constructing a five-star hotel but a Hindu temple and workers are not here to earn wages but to perform their religious duties as volunteers," Janarthan told IANS. The workers were living by the religious tenets followed by those involved in temple construction and provided all facilities, he said. "We have been spending about US$10,256 on each worker every year for meals, clothes, accommodation, airfares and other expenses," he said. The workers are believed to have been taken to Wollongong by CFMEU, who are affiliated to the opposition Labor Party, and the action has taken on political overtones. Australian Hindus are seeking support from Hindus in other countries.




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Prince Charles Launches Plan For Gujarat Quake Victims
Posted on 2001/3/11 22:48:02 ( 816 reads )


Source: The Hindu





LONDON, ENGLAND, March 7, 2001: A plan to build 2,108 quake-proof houses in Gujarat, proposed by the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir -- the biggest Hindu temple outside India ---has been launched by Prince Charles, bringing instant sponsors. Swami Atmaswarupdas, temple chief, said 6,500 volunteers of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanatha had rushed to the aid of the quake victims within hours of the devastating quake. Meals were provided daily for 20,000 victims, and 850,000 food packets, 1.5 million water pouches, 63,000 blankets and 169,000 articles of clothing had been distributed so far.




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Teen Karmapa Raises Controversy
Posted on 2001/3/11 22:47:02 ( 726 reads )


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BODH GAYA, INDIA, March 9, 2001: Authorities in eastern India have ordered an investigation after teen-age Tibetan leader Ugyen Thinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa Lama, was accused of wearing his shoes when he visited the sanctum of the Mahabodhi Temple in the state of Bihar. The Karmapa is one of the highest-ranking monks in Tibetan Buddhism, recognized by both Beijing and the exiled Tibetan religious leader, the Dalai Lama, and is considered by his followers to be the reincarnation of his predecessor. Bhadant Anand, the general-secretary of the All India Monks' Association, demanded the Karmapa be punished for "trampling'' upon the Vajrasana, the place where the Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment. Although there is no restriction on wearing shoes inside a temple in Tibetan Buddhist tradition, a 1949 law that governs the Mahabodhi Temple bans footwear inside the complex. Those defying the law may be fined $2.20, according to the law. The Karmapa was defended by Tenzing Lama, the monk-in-charge of the Tibetan monastery in Bodh Gaya, who said: "It is the heart and not the shoes that is important.''




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Looting Of Kabul Museum
Posted on 2001/3/11 22:46:02 ( 791 reads )


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KABUL, AFGHANISTAN, Sat, 23 Sep 1995 - This article in the Far Eastern Economic Review details how the National Museum of Afghanistan was first damaged by rocket fire in May, 1993, and then looted. The rockets caused a fire which melted supporting beams holding up the ornate vaulted roof, sending it crashing down on the upper galleries. The next day, Najibulla Popol, the 37-year-old museum curator, and a few staff members salvaged what they could to vaults in the museum's basement. Factional fighting had been swirling around the museum since the mujahideen captured Kabul in April 1992. In the months following the first rocket attack, mujahideen soldiers repeatedly looted their contents guided by detailed instructions from Afghan and Pakistani antiquities dealers. In January 1994, United Nations agency Habitat bricked up the museum's windows and repaired the doors, but looters broke in. Leading a party of journalists in 1995, museum director Popol showed destruction and mayhem, stacks of empty metal trays that had held one of the largest and oldest coin collections in the world-some 40,000 coins-covered the floor. Less-important artifacts were left smashed on the floor, while those too heavy to carry such as life-sized statues of Kushan warriors from 200 BC and the largest Buddhas were badly damaged. According to Sayed Delju Hussaini, Afghan minister of information and culture, 90% of the museum's collection has been looted. "It was one of the richest museums in the entire region, covering 50,000 years of history in Afghanistan and Central Asia," Hussaini laments. The breaking of all remaining statues in this museum by the Taleban in the last few weeks completes the museum's demise.




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Revolutionary Transport Device
Posted on 2001/3/11 22:45:02 ( 787 reads )


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MANCHESTER, NH, March 7, 2001: Inventor Dean Kamen's invention, called "IT" or "Ginger," is a two-wheeled hydrogen-powered scooter that is emission-free. The print publication of Inside.com says, "Ginger represents the first generation of a new mode of transportation that will compete with and possibly replace automobiles. The ramifications of a 'hydrogen economy' would be profound on everything from the environment to the energy business to global politics." IT is already generating financial support from Steve Jobs of Apple and Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, who reportedly have seen the machine. Kamen, a successful inventor who has come up with innovative, stair-climbing wheelchairs and an insulin pump, created a company called ACROS to build "motorized, self-propelled, wheelchairs, scooters, and carts."




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Police clampdown on Malaysia violence
Posted on 2001/3/10 22:49:02 ( 774 reads )


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, March 11, 2001: Tension remains high in a squatter settlement on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, following clashes between Muslim Malays and Hindu Indians which have left at least five people dead. More than 150 people have been arrested in the troubled squatter district of Kampung Medan since trouble first erupted on Thursday. Journalists who toured the area on Sunday morning say a heavy police presence, backed up by water cannon, remains in place. The fighting had origins in a row last weekend between an Indian funeral procession and Malays celebrating a wedding. According to stories circulating in the area, a drunken Indian man kicked over a chair at the Malay party, leading to the fighting.




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Giant Buddha Statues Lost Forever
Posted on 2001/3/10 22:48:02 ( 793 reads )


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BAMIYAN, AFGHANISTAN, March, 11, 2001: The two giant Buddha statues had stood guard over the Bamiyan valley for centuries until they were destroyed by Afghanistan's ruling Taleban. Foreign minister, Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, told UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Pakistan that demolition was still continuing, and all the country's moveable statues had been destroyed. While the Taleban say they acted because the statues were "un-Islamic," a delegation from the world's largest Muslim body, the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) had travelled to Afghanistan to try to change their minds. The statues were once a big tourist draw and dated back to between the second and fifth centuries AD, before the coming of Islam, when Afghanistan was a centre of Buddhist learning and pilgrimage. Egypt's top religious leader, Mufti Sheikh Nasr Farid Wassel, who is travelling with the OIC delegation, said: "The proof that these statues have no negative impact on Islam is that throughout Islam's history in Afghanistan they were preserved and no Muslim doctrine has suggested their destruction."




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