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The Story Of Kumbh Mela
Posted on 2001/1/14 22:49:02 ( 951 reads )


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ALLAHABAD, INDIA: Periodical fairs or Melas are held by Hindus to honor of Gods or Goddesses. The most important of these is the Kumbha Mela which may have originated as a meeting place for the main religious heads who could lay down canons for the whole community as Hinduism has no supreme hierarchical head. A large number of saints and sages attend and it is the prospect of their blessing that draws the crowds. The material on this web site offers a comprehensive overview of the history and mythology of the Mela.




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Study: Cutting TV Reduces Aggression
Posted on 2001/1/14 22:48:02 ( 809 reads )


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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, January 14, 2001: A school-based program that discourages television and video game use makes grade-school children less aggressive, a Stanford University study suggests. While previous research has linked exposure to media violence with increased aggression, few potential solutions have been evaluated, the authors said. Their findings indicate "that the effects of televised violence in kids are really reversible," said Dr. Thomas Robinson, the lead author and an assistant professor of pediatrics.




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Less Donations From Churchgoers To Churches
Posted on 2001/1/14 22:47:02 ( 821 reads )


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CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS, January 9, 2001: Churchgoers are donating an increasingly smaller share of their incomes. The percentage of income Protestant Christians give fell from 3.1% in 1968 to 2.5% in 1998, according to Empty Tomb, a research group in Champaign, Illinois. That means church members gave $4 billion less in 1998 than they would have if they were giving at the same rate they did in 1968. Total annual contributions rose by an average of $202 to $570 per church member, after inflation was taken into account, because incomes also rose. Most of the money is being spent on salaries, in-church programs, and building-maintenance rather than on outreach efforts such as missions and services for the poor. The report said that if U.S. church members had tithed, or given 10 percent of after-tax income in 1998, churches would have had an additional $131 billion.




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Prime Minister Keen To Bathe at Kumbha Mela
Posted on 2001/1/13 22:49:02 ( 799 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 14, 2001: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is apparently keen, along with tens of millions of Hindu pilgrims at the Maha Kumbh Mela now on in Allahabad, to immerse himself in purificatory waters. Official sources say the Special Protection Group responsible for Vajpayee's security is less than enthusiastic given the enormous logistical problems. The PM reportedly wants to participate in the most auspicious day -- January 24 -- when as many as 30 million people are expected to take a purificatory dip at the spot where the holy Ganges and Yamuna rivers converge near the town of Allahabad.




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Dalai Lama Invited to Kumbha Mela
Posted on 2001/1/13 22:48:02 ( 908 reads )


Source: Reuters





DHARMASALA, INDIA, January 11, 2001: The Dalai Lama is considering a request from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, to attend a Hindu religious festival in India, an official of the Tibetan leader's government-in-exile announced. The Dalai Lama has accepted "in principle" the invitation, according to both a member of his office in New Delhi and a high-ranking member of the Hindu Council. But he still must obtain permission from Indian officials before he can attend, the Tibetan Authority has said.




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Oriya Community Objects to ISKCON Rath Yatra
Posted on 2001/1/13 22:47:02 ( 835 reads )


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BOMBAY, INDIA, January 8, 2001: Traditionalists of the Oriya community in Bombay who worship Lord Jagannath at the Puri temple, have vocalized their disapproval of recent ISKCON activities. Deities from the temple were paraded in chariots amidst cheering and dancing for the second time in the year 2000. Protesting that ISKCON devotees lack respect for the culture that dictates a rath yatra can only take place once a year, the community has also objected that deviation from tradition looks bad to the outside world.




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Tibetans Flee Homeland to Preserve Religious Freedom
Posted on 2001/1/13 22:46:02 ( 804 reads )


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TIBET, CHINA, January 8, 2001: Fleeing their homeland to preserve their religious freedom due to Chinese government repression, Tibetan Clergy, women and children are seeking peace in new lands. The oppressive environment advocated by the government includes such atrocities as illegal raids on houses to destroy religious altars, forced sterilization of women, lack of educational opportunities for Tibetan youth and unfounded arrests. As a result, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy has reported that over 2,660 Tibetans fled into exile in the year 2000.




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Record Number of Pilgrims Visit Vaishno Devi
Posted on 2001/1/13 22:45:02 ( 805 reads )


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JAMMU, INDIA, January 7, 2001: In the year 2000, an additional 547,0000 pilgrims were able to partake in the darshan at the holy cave shrine of Vaishno Devi. The Chief Executive Officer of the Devi Shrine board attributes the increase to religious devotion as well as more amiable accommodations available for devotees.




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Genetically Modified Foods get Approval
Posted on 2001/1/13 22:44:02 ( 855 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 8, 2001: Hopeful of eradicating or reducing poverty, hunger and malnutrition in India by the year 2020, the 88th Indian Science Congress has approved the production of genetically modified (GM) foods. In conjunction with protecting the environment and the rich bio-diversity of India, the technology will be tested in laboratories before reaching the fields. International biotech companies are fervently working to get a free hand for GM plants in India, as Western countries, especially in Europe, severely restrict the research. The "Vitamin A" rice, for example, cannot be tested on humans in Europe and a scheme is underway to have it tested on malnourished Indian villagers.




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Kashmir Shiva Temples May Crumble
Posted on 2001/1/13 22:43:02 ( 930 reads )


Source: Asian Age





JAMMU & KASHMIR, INDIA, January 7, 2001: 2000-year-old temples dedicated to Lord Siva are about to crumble with neglect unless the Archaeological Survey of India steps in. Due to unstable government in the state, restoration has been abandoned. The Naranag temples were built with megaliths, huge undressed stones, that were placed with precision. The result was geometrically correct and artistically pleasing places of worship. They are located 65 miles north of Srinagar and are presently being used as camps for militants in the area.




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Hard Line Rulers Oppose Conversion
Posted on 2001/1/13 22:42:02 ( 917 reads )


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KABUL, AFGHANISTAN January 8, 2001: Hard line Taliban rulers who enforce strict Islamic law in Afghanistan have announced that the death penalty will be imposed on Muslims converting to another religion. Similarly anyone trying to convert a Muslim will experience the same fate. However, followers of other religions are allowed to practice their faith without being ostracized. What is left of once-large Sikh and Hindu community reportedly worship regularly at gurudwaras and temples in the capital of Kabul.




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Ban on Plastics
Posted on 2001/1/13 22:41:02 ( 854 reads )


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GOA, INDIA, January 9, 2001: Backed by the Goa Environment Federation and the Local Authorities, the Goa government has banned the use of plastics in the state starting in May 2001. Plastic can be neither burnt nor buried resulting in a problem for the product's proper disposal. Citizens are supporting the Chief Minister's progressive decision. An special problem is consumption by cows of plastic bags.




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Employed Rather than Retired Over Age 65
Posted on 2001/1/13 22:40:02 ( 1061 reads )


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The Census Bureau of the United States predicts that by the year 2030 one in four US citizens will be over 65 years of age. Out of necessity and with good health, this multi-talented age group will be visibly present in the work force. This entertaining New York Times report covers hardworking old folks in their 80s, 90s and even 100s, including one who continues to operate heavy equipment at a quarry. In 1900 there were only 63,000 centenarians. Halfway through the 21st century, this number is expected to reach 834,000.




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South Indians Celebrate Pongal
Posted on 2001/1/12 22:49:02 ( 933 reads )


Source: Shri Rajarathna Bhattar





HOUSTON, TEXAS, January 13, 2001: The festival called variously as Pongal, Makara Sankranthi and Utharayana Punya Kala occurs on January 14 or 15. From the sun's entering Makara rasi, it is called Makara Sankranthi; from the sun's moving northwards, it is named Utharayana; and as the sun is worshipped with sweet rice pongal, it is called Pongal, a day for the worship of Surya (sun). Since agriculture, sun and rain are indispensible, one day is set aside during harvest for the worship of Devendra and celebrated as Bhogi, for according to the shastras, no rain will fall without Indra's command. The next day, thanks are offered to Surya with Pongal made of freshly harvested grain. The third day is Mattu Pongal, when cattle are worshipped with Pongal. On the fourth day called Kanu Pongal, unmarried girls and married women take the blessing of elders and pray for the welfare of the family. Unmarried girls pray to the Almighty in the expectation that in consonance with the Tamil adage, the next month Thai, would see them married.




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Holymen Take Five-Star Tents to Court
Posted on 2001/1/12 22:48:02 ( 875 reads )


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ALLAHABAD, UTTAR PRADESH, January 12, 2001: A luxury tour operator is forced to defend itself in court after it set up next a five-star tent city at the Kumbh Mela Hindu festival site. Irate Hindu sadhus demanded that British travel agent, Cox and Kings, wind up its 74 Swiss-cottage style tents as it went against the true Kumbh spirit. Local official, Mr. Sadakant said the camps were meant to cater to foreign tourists including international celebrities. Reports surfaced that the camp was serving alcohol and meat to its residents -- both taboo at the Mela. Local officials said the holy men's sentiments had to be respected. Organizers ordered the camp be moved using a statute that stated that anything which could affect the sanctity of the religious congregation could be banned. But Cox and Kings said they would fight the order in court, citing misunderstanding of company motives to cater to "spiritual seekers" rather than five-star tourists. The temporary resort has plush tents going for $489 for two nights -- the same as a five-star Delhi hotel. All 74 tents are booked for the entire 42-day duration of the Kumbh Mela.




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