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Apartheid? "Not Here," Says India.
Posted on 2001/2/24 22:48:02 ( 843 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, February 23, 2001: Human Rights Watch has criticized the Indian Government for discouraging debate over caste-based discrimination. The New York-based rights groups says Delhi is trying to avoid discussion of the issue at a major United Nations conference on racism in South Africa in August. Smita Narula, spokeswoman for the group, says Indian officials argued against including the topic of caste at a meeting on the conference agenda in Tehran earlier this week. The lower-caste Dalit community and a number of other South Asian groups are lobbying for the caste system to be discussed at the South African meeting. They argue that more international attention is needed on what amounts to hidden apartheid. Human Rights Watch says the caste system inflicts great social harm.




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The Non-Vegetarian Side of Vegetarian Products
Posted on 2001/2/24 22:47:02 ( 844 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 20, 2001: A large number of food items passed off as vegetarian actually contain some non-vegetarian ingredients. Some manufacturers add crushed deer antlers to chyawanprash, an ayurvedic medicine. Animal-based enzymes are used for baking biscuits and some beer and whisky makers also use animal-derivatives to "ripen" their products. The vitamin A and D normally added to vegetable oil is often of animal origin. Even items like soaps, shampoos and toothpaste may contain ingredients that are of animal origin. Until a few months ago, India's Union health ministry seemed concerned that consumers had the right to know if a product is of non-animal origin. Now it is being accused of "withdrawing notification of Law under pressure of vested commercial interests." The accusation comes from VOICE (Voluntary Organization in Interest of Consumer Education), in the wake of the ministry's decision to withdraw a notification which would have made it mandatory for manufacturers to indicate, through a stipulated symbol and color code, the fact that the product has non-vegetarian substances.




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What Coagulant is Your Cheese Made From?
Posted on 2001/2/24 22:46:02 ( 779 reads )


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AUSTIN, TEXAS, February 23, 2001: Vegetarians have always been faced with the challenge of finding cheese made without rennet. Derived from the stomach of young calves, the enzyme rennet was at one time the only coagulant that would produce cheddar or hard cheeses. Since 1989 a bio-engineered rennet called microbial chymosin was approved by the FDA and has been used by cheese-producing companies. To animal rights activists and vegetarians this alternative is more acceptable than killing calves for rennet. Estimating that at least 70% of domestic cheese is made from bio-engineered chymosin, labeling is so poor that the consumer is left unaware of the enzyme used to produce the cheese. Companies can simply use the word "enzymes" without detailing whether the source is animal, plant, or microbial.




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Scientists Craft Mouse with Human Brain Cells
Posted on 2001/2/24 22:45:02 ( 726 reads )


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SAN FRANCISCO, U.S.A, February 24, 2001: Researchers at a California biotechnology company, StemCells Inc., have produced laboratory mice with human brain cells, marking a potential step toward developing treatments for human brain disease like Alzheimer's but promising to fuel fresh debate over the evolving ethics of bioengineering. "We are not recreating a human brain. We're really just trying to understand how these stem cells can function, and how they can be used in the treatment of specific diseases," said Ann Tsukamoto, vice president of scientific operations at StemCells Inc. Irving Weissman, a Stanford university professor involved in the two-year research project, said the next step could be to produce mice with brains made up almost entirely of human cells but a thorough ethical review will be done before this step is taken. Tsukamoto added that the experiment also demonstrated that StemCell Inc's process was viable, and that cell banks could be established for future transplantation into humans. Both scientists stressed, though their logic may escape the casual reader, that their research was in no way aimed at blurring the lines between human and animal. But consider the bright side. If they develop a talking mouse, Disney can hire, rather than draw, Mickey Mouse.




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Last Spurt Of Fervor As Kumbha Mela Ends
Posted on 2001/2/23 22:49:02 ( 747 reads )


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AHMEDABAD, INDIA, February 22, 2001: Kumbha Mela, the 42-day-long religious fair, came to an end Wednesday with the last spurt of bathing fervor. Two-and-a-half million made their dip into the holy waters of the confluence of the three rivers, the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. "Initially, we were keen to come towards the beginning of the fair, but soon we realized that it would be much better and more meaningful to take our dip in peace towards the end," said Ramesh Lenka, a shopkeeper from Orissa. The one million-strong township of Kumbhnagar in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, has disappeared as swiftly as it sprouted on the sand banks. The 50 sq. km. Kumbhnagar is now an endless stretch of sand, the Hindu monastic orders that came from all corners of the world for a dip into the confluence have gone.




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Indian Census Could Produce "The Most Complicated Lies"
Posted on 2001/2/23 22:48:02 ( 759 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 22, 2001: The gigantic venture of India's Census 2001, involving 2 million enumerators visiting 650,000 villages, 5,500 towns and scores of cities to collect crucial demographic and socio-economic data concerning over a billion people could have inspired unity. Instead, it has spawned its own set of controversies, relating once again to age-old caste and communal divisions. The census indeed appears almost designed to conceal rather than collect useful data. There are more than 3,000 castes and sub-castes among Hindus. So far, only the census of Dalits, who constitute about 25 percent of the community, has been made caste-based. A number of inherent flaws in enumeration methodology, and caste and communal prejudices of the enumerators, may lead to the census throwing up "the most complicated lies about the country's sociological and demographic make-up."




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Scriptures Have References To Quakes
Posted on 2001/2/23 22:47:02 ( 769 reads )


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THANE, MAHARASHTRA, February 4, 2001: According to Dr. Vijay Bedekar, president of the Thane-based Institute of Oriental Study, the Vedas, Puranas and great epics had references to earthquakes and the devastation these natural disasters could cause. While there is extensive research about the quakes in the last 200 years, he said historical documents reveal studies about earthquakes in the olden days too. Two books, the Brihad Samhita of Varaha Mihira (5th and 6th century A.D.) and Brihad Sagara of Ballara Sena (10th and 11th century A.D.) have references about earthquakes. Dr. Bedekar said, "The reasons and zones of quakes had been classically mentioned in these texts,'' adding that the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari was divided into four seismic zones. Dr. Bedekar said the four types of earthquakes were the Vayu type which causes the maximum damage, the Agni, Indra and Varuna types. Quakes and their intensity could also be found in texts of "Lokapakaram'' in Kannada by Chamundrai, in 1025 A.D. China has kept the longest detailed records on earthquakes, going back more than 2,000 years, which has allowed their scientists to make a few accurate predictions.




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Book Release
Posted on 2001/2/23 22:46:02 ( 977 reads )


Source: email: fgautier@satyam.net.in





NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 24, 2001: Francois Gautier is releasing his new book, "A Foreign Journalist on India", on March 2, 6:30pm, at the Park Hotel, in the presence of Dr Murli Manohar Joshi and L.K. Advani.




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Muslims Prefer Relief From Hindus
Posted on 2001/2/20 22:49:02 ( 750 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 19, 2001: In some of the remote parts of Gujarat's Kutch district, Muslims affected by the January 26 earthquake are refusing relief from an Islamic sect and turning to Hindu organizations instead. Muslim clergymen in Kutch have reportedly called for a boycott of a group of Ahmadiyas who are trying to propagate their brand of Islam while distributing relief. The Ahmadiyas are not recognized as Muslims by the rest of the Islamic community. Kutch Muslims are instead accepting relief from volunteers of Hindu organizations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal, as they are not pushing any religious propaganda. The Ahmadiya sect has a substantial following in Pakistan, where it was banned during the tenure of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The sect is also banned in several other Islamic nations.




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Making Money While Staying at Home
Posted on 2001/2/20 22:48:02 ( 725 reads )


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SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, February 19, 2001: It is no surprise that the state of Utah, where 70% of the population is Mormon, also bolsters the highest percent of women nation-wide who have home-based businesses. From crafts to stamps and more, the enterprising women are finding creative outlets and independence while supporting the Mormon value system of large families and stay-at-home mothering. With the built-in network already in place, marketing of home-based products is done with ease. Supported by their peers and the community at large many Mormon women are earning respectable incomes. Stampin Up, a Utah company selling rubber stamps and stationery, was started by two sisters and in 1999 produced a whopping US$100 million in gross revenues.




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Humor Promotes Healing
Posted on 2001/2/20 22:47:02 ( 747 reads )


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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, February 13, 2001: If it tickles your funny bone then chances are it will reduce the stress in your life and leave your immune system to do its part. This premise has been supported by both the field of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences. A recent publication with research data appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Skin welt sizes were compared in patients suffering from severe allergies after one group watched a video featuring Charlie Chaplin and the other group listened to a documentary on weather. Needless to say, the Japanese study confirmed a reduction in skin welt size in the group watching the famed comedian.




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New York Times Insults Lord Krishna?
Posted on 2001/2/19 22:49:02 ( 746 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, February 20, 2001: This article which appeared in today's New York Times may bring a protest response from Hindus. The article is on the proposal by President Bush to channel money through faith-based organizations for social service work. The article points out that this has already been going on for years and cites one example. "For almost 20 years, Hare Krishna devotees in Philadelphia have received millions of dollars in government contracts to run a network of services, including a shelter for homeless veterans, transitional homes for recovering addicts and this halfway house for parolees. The unusual collaboration between government agencies and a religious group that depicts God as a baby-faced boy with blue skin offers a glimpse of the challenges ahead for President Bush's initiative to expand government support for social service programs run by religious organizations." The disrespectful phrase "depicts God as a baby-faced boy with blue skin offers a glimpse of the challenges..." is likely to be found objectionable by many Hindu who venerate this form of Lord Krishna.




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India's Violent Homes
Posted on 2001/2/19 22:48:02 ( 708 reads )


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INDIA, February 19, 2001: Every six hours somewhere in India a young married women is burnt alive, beaten to death, or driven to commit suicide. Lawyer and social activist, Indira Jaisingh, who heads the Women's Legal Aid Center in Delhi, has been campaigning for a new law to deal with violence in the home. At least 20 percent of married women between the ages of 15 and 49 experience domestic violence, many of them on a continual basis. Activists say a major source of concern in India is that society has failed to bring about strong social sanctions against violent men. A recent survey by the International Institute for Population Studies, showed that 56 percent of Indian women believed wife beating to be justified in certain circumstances. Currently, there is no law in India dealing specifically with domestic violence.




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Idol-smuggling Racket Busted
Posted on 2001/2/19 22:47:02 ( 788 reads )


Source: Kaumudi





TRIVANDRUM, INDIA, February 20, 2001: Museum police held a three-member gang specializing in smuggling out rare idols to foreign countries. Top sources said that the gang comprising Syed, 50, a fake homeopathic doctor, Mohanan, 43, and Mohanachandran, 35, had smuggled out ten idols so far. They were caught while negotiating an audacious deal to smuggle out the panchaloha idol of Navneetakrishnan near the Hanuman temple here. Two Cochin-based agents of the gang were being traced, police said.




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A Reflection On Maha Sivaratri
Posted on 2001/2/18 22:49:02 ( 896 reads )


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MONTGOMERYVILLE, PHILADELPHIA, February 18, 2001: As America has become a more multicultural nation, the youth today are free to express their religious and cultural roots without the fear of being misunderstood or ridiculed. So expounds the author of this essay while recalling the most auspicious festival of her religion, Maha Sivaratri. As a teen she expresses her fascination with the night dedicated to Lord Siva and the intensity of the celebrations that left a deep impression on her youthful mind. The bathing of the Siva Lingam, the chanting of Sri Rudram by the priests and the fasting proceeding the annual event filled and thrilled the young Hindu. These traditions have been passed on to her own daughter who openly brings a friend along to the temple to partake in the celebration.




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