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Wives Rewarded When Husbands Abstain from Drinking Alcohol and Smoking
Posted on 2001/8/17 9:48:02 ( 869 reads )


ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA, August 13, 2001: A clever tactic has been adopted by the boss of a chemical company in the state of Andhra Pradesh. To discourage smoking and drinking alcohol, the company pays the wife of a male employee a bonus of ten dollars a month when her husband abstains from the two habits. According to Mr. Venkatesh, "99% of his 1200 employees stick to the regime." Even though the program costs the company US$150,000 a year, the results have encouraged employees to be faithful and disciplined.

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Smoking Ads Still Aimed at Kids
Posted on 2001/8/17 9:47:02 ( 802 reads )


BOSTON, USA, Aug. 15, 2001: The multibillion-dollar 1998 national tobacco pact has failed to turn back a torrent of cigarette advertising placed in magazines and aimed at children, a study concluded. "What surprises me is the sheer gall of the tobacco industry in general: their willingness to continue to find ways to get around the very agreement they entered into," said former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, who signed the pact. He is now president of Common Cause, a citizen's lobbying group. The study by two Boston-based researchers says that cigarette makers have kept up a high level of spending for magazine ads targeted at middle and high school-age children. It says that last year, magazine ads for cigarette brands popular with teenagers reached 82 percent of them. That percentage was down from 88 percent in 1999, but the study's authors said it was still way too high.

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Naipaul: Indian Writers Have No Sense of History
Posted on 2001/8/17 9:46:02 ( 957 reads )

Source: The Hindu

LONDON UK AUG. 12, 2001: "The full text of Mr. V.S. Naipaul's interview to the Literary Review is now available and Indian writers are not likely to be amused by what Sir Vidia thinks of them. In short, he says Indian writing exists in a historical vacuum. R.K. Narayan is singled out for "lacking a sense of history, his writing 'hangs in the air' because of a lack of historical perspective." This will likely infuriate the liberal opinion in India due to Naipaul's admiration for "movements from below," such as the Shiv Sena which, he says, are more authentic than the "middle class chaps with no feel for the wretched of the earth." In what many might regard as a sweeping generalization, Mr. Naipaul says, "The thing about being an Indian, and it remains true of Indian writing now, is that it seems to work without history, in a vacuum. Indian writers don't know why their country is in such a mess. They can't understand the poverty of India, they don't know why early travelers talk of a derelict countryside. Very easy to think that it might be because of the British but much easier in fact to pay no attention to it at all. This lack in Indian writing, even Narayan's writing, is a fatal flaw." He attacks Jawaharlal Nehru for encouraging a certain "construct' of Indian history which, he believes, is a refusal to face facts. The Nehruvian idea of India, he argues, was constructed to get the independence movement off the ground. "They had to get people together for the independence movement, and they had to tell stories." Naipaul is considered one of the world's foremost authors in English today.

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Nepal Outlaws Caste Discrimination
Posted on 2001/8/17 9:45:02 ( 863 reads )


KATMANDU, NEPAL, Aug, 16, 2001: The Nepalese government said it would outlaw discrimination against lower-caste Hindus and pledged to pass a law ending the centuries-old system that deems certain people "untouchable." "Effective from this day the practice of untouchability and any discrimination based on it will be considered a crime punishable by a severe sentence," Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba told Parliament, announcing his new government's policy. He did not say what the punishment would be. Deuba, who came to power last month after the resignation of an unpopular prime minister and the massacre of Nepal's royal family, said his Cabinet reached the decision as part of a package of sweeping reforms. The country's latest census has yet to be made public, and it was unclear how many Dalits are among Nepal's 23 million people.

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Fiji Temple Robbed
Posted on 2001/8/17 9:44:02 ( 965 reads )

Source: News Reports

SUVA, FIJI, August 13, 2001: Thieves broke into two Hindu temples in Suva today during the night and stole musical instruments from both places worth US$1,152. Committee member Satish Deo of the Ram Krishna Mandir said, "We request assistance in replacing the musical instruments as we are borrowing from other temples during prayers." Police spokeswoman Sergeant Unaisi Vuniwaqa said, "We request members of the public to have respect for all places of worship, whether it be church, temple or mosque, and also to promote religious tolerance, especially during this very crucial time." The first elections since the aborted coup of last year take place in a few days.

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Grooms Lose Along With Dot-Coms
Posted on 2001/8/17 9:43:02 ( 992 reads )

Source: India Tribune

BANGALORE, INDIA, August 11, 2001: Software engineers here used to have their pick of brides in the very competitive arranged marriage market. No more. With the fall of the dot-coms worldwide has gone the premium formerly placed on the engineers. Said one engineer, "For the past four months, I have seen the majority of parents hesitating to marry off their daughters to a software engineer as they are not sure whether we will have our jobs next year." One marriage bureau has a backlog of 500 dot-com professionals on its books. Said one manager, "Previously the information technology sector was hot, now brides are shifting to management guys, chartered accountants and company secretaries." Returned engineers from America, having lost their visas with their company's downfall, are facing the same problem in finding wives.

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New York Times Article on Child Sex Selection
Posted on 2001/8/16 9:49:02 ( 885 reads )


NEW JERSEY, August 15, 2001: This major article in the New York Times reports that in recent editions of India Abroad, a weekly newspaper for Indian expatriates in the United States and Canada, advertisements have run soliciting customers for doctors who will tell the parents the gender of their unborn baby. The objective is to insure a boy child, girls being almost always aborted. The article explains that this procedure is legal in the USA while illegal in India itself. The Times describes the ads as an example of "niche marketing," the selling of a product to a relatively small group who desire it. There has been little objection to the practice from the general Indian community, although India Abroad itself yanked the ads as soon as they were brought to the attention of the publishers. "As immigrants, we really had a chance of starting with a clean, fresh slate," said Shamita Das Dasgupta, a founder of Manavi, a New Jersey group that provides counseling for abused South Asian women. "These practitioners are taking advantage of a practice that is totally misogynous, and unless the good-thinking people of our community stand up and let their voices be heard, such practices will continue happening."

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Hong Kong Monastery Economic Downturn's Latest Victim
Posted on 2001/8/16 9:48:02 ( 941 reads )

Source: Straits Times

HONGKONG, Aug 16, 2001: Even monks have been hit by the economic slowdown. A dwindling number of tourists has thrust Hongkong's biggest Buddhist monastery into the red, forcing it to ponder cost-cutting measures such as voluntary retirement. Showing it is not immune to the financial troubles hitting many Hongkong businesses, officials at Po Lin Monastery said yesterday that they had been running a deficit of US$77,000 a month since June. Chief monk Sik Chi Wai said any staff quitting the monastery would not be replaced, although there were no plans to impose layoffs on the staff of 150. He said rainy weather and two recent typhoons cut into the number of visitors. People on the payroll include cooks, kitchen workers, secretaries, cleaners, security guards and gift shop cashiers. Monastery operations manager Poon Kwok-kun said the monastery's revenue had fallen by at least 30 per cent over the past year as Hongkong's economy slowed, with only a few hundred visitors to the monastery on bad days. The monastery claims its outdoor seated bronze Buddha, perched on a mountain in Hongkong's outlying Lantau island, is the world's largest. Since the giant Buddha site opened in 1993, it has drawn more than seven million visitors. Lantau is known as the Island of Prayers, with almost 300 tiny Buddhist monasteries.

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MacDonald's Says It Will List More Ingredients of Its Food
Posted on 2001/8/16 9:47:02 ( 899 reads )

Source: Religion News Service

USA, August 14, 2001: More than three months after Hindu and non-Hindu vegetarians sued McDonald's USA, claiming the company failed to disclose that its french fries contained beef, the fast-food corporation announced it would provide more ingredient information to customers. In an Aug. 13 press release, the chain said the company's Web site,, now includes updated details on whether "a natural flavor comes from a dairy, meat or vegetable source." The site admits the natural flavors used in McDonald's french fries contain beef, whereas previous ingredient listings did not explain the makeup of "natural flavors." The updated information also will be available in printed pamphlets in McDonald's restaurants.

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Legislation to Prevent Violence Against Women
Posted on 2001/8/15 9:49:02 ( 922 reads )

Source: Kashmir Times

NEW DELHI, INDIA, Aug 14 , 2001: There is a proposal to enact the legislation to prevent domestic violence against women, human resource development Murli Manohar Joshi told the Lok Sabha. It is based on the recommendations of the National Commission for Women. The government proposes to set up a Bharat Siksha Kosh to receive contributions and endowments from individuals and corporations including non-resident indians for educational development in the country. The world bank has committed an International Development Association credit of US$4 million dollars for implementation of the district primary education program in Bihar.

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Newspaper Solicits Views on Cloning From Spiritual Leaders
Posted on 2001/8/15 9:48:02 ( 1078 reads )

Source: Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, August 10, 2001: Deciding that the act of human cloning will be treated as a felony with violators receiving up to ten years in prison, the U.S. House of Representatives has received varying opinions from the public. Other countries have not followed suit to date, and as a result an Italian doctor and a U.S. researcher have announced they will be implanting cloned human embryos in 200 women in the near future. Soliciting advice from six spiritual leaders, the Inland Valley Times has asked if "it makes sense to make human cloning illegal here when it will take place in other countries." Three of the six leaders expounded differing views from Christian sectors. A pastor of the Faith Lutheran Church said that, "the evil we seek to avoid is going to happen anyway." Upholding scientific research, the reverend of a United Methodist Church said, "the technology hasn't been perfected well enough to justify cloning human beings." Representing the Catholic view, a priest elucidated on the "intrinsic value of human life." An atheist compared cloning to blood transfusions and organ transplants and saw no need to oppose human cloning. Feeling that upholding the law is the most important, a Religious Science reverend trusts that God will guide humanity on this important issue. The Hindu Sector was represented by Prithvi Raj Singh of the Federation of Hindus-Associations Inc. who spoke as follows, "In my opinion, irrespective of whether human cloning is carried out successfully or otherwise in other countries, the act should not have become a felony by the U.S. House of Representatives."

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British Priests Run Same High Risk of Attack as Policemen
Posted on 2001/8/15 9:47:02 ( 858 reads )


LONDON, UK, Aug 15, 2001: Being a priest may be the most dangerous profession in Britain, according to the first survey of its kind compiled for the Home Office. Nearly three-quarters of priests in the south-east of England who responded to a questionnaire said they had been abused or assaulted in the past two years. One in eight of them said they were physically attacked. Six priests have been murdered since 1996, including two this year. Although all the clergymen who responded were from the Church of England, the Guardian newspaper said yesterday that there was no indication the figures would be any different for any other Christian denomination. The newspaper speculated that it may be higher for other religious groups because their priests minister more exclusively to congregations. The results were from a report compiled by London's Royal Holloway University on Workplace Violence Affecting Professional Workers. According to the British Crime Survey, a member of the clergy was on par with a policeman when it came to the risk of an attack but was way ahead of other caring professions such as doctors, nurses or probation officers. Eighty per cent of priests said they had no guidelines from the church on dealing with violence.

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New Fuel-Saving Lantern Developed
Posted on 2001/8/15 9:46:02 ( 952 reads )


MAHARASHTRA, INDIA, Aug, 13, 2001: An improved kerosene lantern called "Noorie" has been designed and developed by Anil K. Rajvanshi and Sudhir Kumar of the Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute in, Maharashtra, India, but is getting little recognition. It is a pressurized mantle lantern producing a light equivalent to a 100-watt bulb and can run on diesel, ethyl alcohol and other fuels. It uses only 60% of the fuel required to get the same output from the current popular lantern, a Petromax, and operates more safely, at one-third the pressure. The Noorie, which costs US$5.43, also doubles as a cook stove. The lantern has potentially enormous importance in India. Many rural areas and even the cities rely on these lanterns when local electrical production is insufficient or fails.

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Smugglers Plunder Old Rajasthan Fort
Posted on 2001/8/14 9:49:02 ( 888 reads )


MASALPUR, RAJASTHAN, INDIA, August 12, 2001: Near the Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh border in Masalpur is the fort of Timangarh, which has often been the site of much antique smuggling. "We have seen the helicopters landing near the Timangarh fort so many times. We can identify the noise of a helicopter even in our sleep," says villager Anant Ram Gujjar. Helicopters make the getaway by the smugglers simple and easy. The fort is said to have been built by local kings in 1100 ce. Inside this fort are thousands of idols carefully preserved in underground stone quarters. Gangs from Delhi, Mathura and Agra go to the three villages to hire the locals, the only people who know where the idols are hidden. Even after being tipped off about an operation, the police find it very difficult to catch the culprits, mainly because of the location and architecture of the fort. The idols are carved in the exquisite Gandhara style with the typical hairdo seen in the Ajanta and Ellora caves.

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Temple Accused of Mistreatment of Mentally Ill
Posted on 2001/8/14 9:48:02 ( 901 reads )


INDIA, August 10, 2001: A temple in Rajasthan puts the mentally ill through unspeakable rituals in the quest for a cure, a newspaper reported on Friday. At the Mehendipur Balaji Temple, 100 km from Jaipur, the victims are forced to inhale the fumes of burning dung cakes, bathe in and drink water from a filthy water tank, and stay chained or lie pressed under heavy rocks, The Indian Express said. "Unfortunately, cruelty outside mental hospitals, especially in places of worship, doesn't fall under the Mental Health Act. The law itself needs to be amended," said Shiv Gautam, head of psychiatry at Jaipur's SMS Hospital, who has treated many who have been to the Balaji temple.

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